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■ — a I I 9 !m i 

JL* Lj LN 1 IN 






B. M. JI E H M H 


H3danue nemeepmoe 

M O C K B A 

V. I. L E N I N 



January - June 1907 



From Marx to Mao 

© Digital Reprints 

First printing 1962 
Second printing 1965 

Third printing 1972 
Fourth printing 1977 

Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 

Jl 014(01)-77 ° V 



Preface 13 


BURG 15 




Danger of the Black Hundreds Winning the St. Petersburg Elec- 
tions'? 45 

NISM 57 




from the Fables About the Black-Hundred Danger? 75 
















TACTICS. Brief Newspaper Report 127 

Concluding Speech 131 


R.S.D.L.P 133 

1. The Present Stage in the Democratic Revolution .... 135 

2. The Attitude to the Bourgeois Parties 136 

3. The Class Tasks of the Proletariat at the Present Stage of 

the Democratic Revolution 138 

4. The Tactics of the Social-Democrats in the State Duma 140 

5. The Intensification of Mass Destitution and of the Econom- 
ic Struggle 142 

6. Non-Party Workers' Organisations and the Anarcho-Syndi- 
calist Trend Among the Proletariat 142 

view Granted to a Special Correspondent of " L Humanite" on Feb- 
ruary 17 (March 2), 1907 145 















I 208 

ii T^T? -r^\/f IV /T A T>- V 213 


Instead of an Afterword 240 

CRATS 243 

THE TERMS OF THE DE ^*t ■ .t_,A_i- ■ 244 




\TAT T? S~\ r> 
FINE WORDS— FOUL DEgDf \_} 1 . Jf 1 -WiV 300 




intelligentsiaJL'Io.I.IvIJD.LJ 1 IwIN 316 

ANGRY EMBARRASSMENT. The Question of the Labour Congress 320 






I 349 

II 353 





How the Classics Estimated Intellectualist Opportunism in 
Social-Democracy 371 



German Liberalism and the Russian Duma 384 


BURG 395 




I. Speech for the Defence (or for the Prosecution of the 
Menshevik Section of the Central Committee) Delivered 
it the Party Tribunal 421 

II. A Brief Summary of the Real History of the St. Peters- 
burg Split 432 

(May 13- June 1), 1907 437 

AGENDA, MAY 2 (15) 439 


GROUP, MAY 8 (21) 448 

4. STATEMENT OF FACT, MAY 10 (23) 453 

5. STATEMENT OF MAY 11 (24) 455 

MAY 12 (25) 456 





MAY 16 (29) 480 

MAY 16 (29) 482 




I 490 

II 500 

III 506 

Notes 511 

The Life and Work of V. I. Lenin. Chronology 555 


First page of the newspaper Zreniye, No. 1, 1907 47 

First page of the newspaper Rabochy, No. 2, 1907 157 

Facsimile of the first page of Lenin's manuscript "Draft for a 
Speech on the Agrarian Question in the Second State Duma", 
1907 265 

First page of the newspaper Nashe Ekho, No. 2, 1907 307 



Volume Twelve contains Lenin's writings for the period 
January-June 1907. 

A number of the works included in this volume deal with 
the revolutionary tactics of the R.S.D.L.P. at the time 
of the Second State Duma election campaign — the defence of 
the Left bloc and the struggle against the Menshevik policy 
of collaboration with the Constitutional-Democrats (the Ca- 
dets). Among these writings are: "The Social-Democratic 
Election Campaign in St. Petersburg", "How To Vote in the 
St. Petersburg Elections (Who Benefits from the Fables 
About the Black-Hundred Danger?)", "The Second Duma 
and the Second Revolutionary Wave", "On the Tactics of 
Opportunism", "The Bolsheviks and the Petty Bourgeoisie", 
"The Elections to the Duma and the Tactics of the Russian 
Social-Democrats", "The Imminent Dissolution of the Duma 
and Questions of Tactics", and others. 

There are also documents and articles by Lenin on prep- 
arations for the Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. and the 
reports and speeches he made at the Congress — "Draft Res- 
olutions for the Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.", the ar- 
ticles "The Platform of Revolutionary Social-Democracy", 
"Report to the Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. on the St. 
Petersburg Split and the Institution of the Party Tribunal 
Ensuing Therefrom", "Speech on the Attitude Towards 
Bourgeois Parties", and other speeches. 

Lenin's "Report to the Conference of the St. Petersburg 
Organisation on the Question of the Duma Campaign and 
Duma Tactics", and the articles "What the Splitters Have 
To Say About the Coming Split", "Reorganisation and the 
End of the Split in St. Petersburg", provide a picture of his 



struggle for an ideological consolidation of the St. Peters- 
burg organisation of the R.S.D.L.P. on Bolshevik principles. 

Lenin's "Preface to the Russian Translation of Karl 
Marx's Letters to Dr. Kugelmann" and his "Preface to the 
Russian Translation of Letters by Johannes Becker, Joseph 
Dietzgen, Frederick Engels, Karl Marx, and Others to Fried- 
rich Sorge and Others" , show the theoretical and political 
significance of the Marx and Engels correspondence, part 
of which was first published in a Russian translation in 

This volume also contains two of Lenin's articles on 
the agrarian question — "Draft for a Speech on the Agrarian 
Question in the Second State Duma" and "The Agrarian 
Question and the Forces of the Revolution". 

The articles "On the Report of the Moscow District of 
St. Petersburg Concerning the Elections to the Second 
Duma", "A Note on the Resolution of the Estonian Social- 
Democrats", "The First Important Step", to be found in 
this volume, are included in V. I. Lenin's Collected Works 
for the first time. In the last-named article Lenin criticises 
the opportunist behaviour of the Menshevik deputies to 
the Second Duma. 



St. Petersburg, January 18, 1907. 

The election campaign in St. Petersburg is in full swing. 
The decisive moment is approaching: in the first place, 
the next few days will reveal the final grouping of the 
parties in the elections — who is allied with whom, and who 
is against whom. Secondly, the elections themselves are 
now very near. 

The elections in the capital are of immense importance. 
The eyes of all Russia are now turned towards St. Peters- 
burg. Here, the pulse of political life beats faster and the 
government makes itself felt more than elsewhere. Here 
are the headquarters of all the parties, the leading news- 
papers of all trends and shades, and the best public speak- 
ers at election meetings. 

We can already say definitely and emphatically — St. 
Petersburg has passed the test. The election campaign in 
St. Petersburg has already provided an amazing abundance 
of political-educational material, and day by day continues 
providing more. This material must be assiduously studied. 
It must be systematically collected, and serve to bring out 
in the greatest possible relief the class basis of the various 
parties. And this live, direct knowledge, which interests 
and agitates everybody, must be carried to the broadest 
possible strata of workers and to the most remote rural 

We will try to begin collecting this material, in the form 
of a synopsis, of course. Let the reader look back and ponder 
over the whole course of the election campaign in St. 



Petersburg, so as to obtain a true and consistent picture of 
the role played by the Social-Democrats, and not allow 
himself to be carried away by the minor events of the day 
and the kaleidoscope of loud-mouthed political chicanery. 

The first stage. The Social-Democrats make the theoret- 
ical preparations for the elections. The most prominent 
representatives of the Right and the Left wings express 
their views. At first the Mensheviks do nothing but vacil- 
late: (i) Cherevanin is for agreements with the Cadets. 2 
(2) The Cadet press is jubilant and spreads the glad tidings 
to all corners of Russia. (3) Martov protests in Tovarishch, 3 
favouring a purely Social-Democratic election list, and re- 
proaching the Bolsheviks (Proletary, 4 No. 1) even for 
their general recognition of the possibility of agreements 
with the Trudoviks 5 against the Cadets. (4) The Bolsheviks 
come out in favour of a purely Social-Democratic election 
list, but do not exclude agreements with the revolutionary 
democrats. (5) In the bourgeois press Plekhanov advocates 
blocs with the Cadets. (6) Vacillation among the Menshe- 
viks: Larin wrathfully condemns blocs with the Cadets as a 
disgrace to Social-Democracy, Nik. I — sky 6 admits the 
possibility of blocs with the Cadets, but prefers a bloc 
with the Trudoviks against the Cadets. (7) Martov and all 
the Mensheviks describe an arc of 180°, and swing over to 

The All-Russian Conference of the Russian Social-Demo- 
cratic Labour Party 7 registers two definite trends: the Men- 
sheviks and the Bundists 8 are in favour of blocs with the 
Cadets; the Bolsheviks, Poles and Letts are unreservedly 
against such blocs, but admit the possibility of agreements 
with the revolutionary democrats. 

The second stage. The idea of a bloc with the Cadets 
is developed in the press. Plekhanov goes so far as to speak 
of "a Duma with full powers", thus threatening to reduce 
Menshevism to an absurdity. Wishing to bring the Menshe- 
viks and the Cadets closer together, he achieves the very 
opposite (owing to his utter failure to understand the polit- 
ical situation) he widens the rift between them. On the 
one hand, the Cadet Party solemnly and officially rejects 
the idea of "a Duma with full powers" as a revolutionary 
illusion, and jeers at Plekhanov. It is quite clear that the 


Cadets want and demand an ideological bloc, the subordi- 
nation of the Lefts to Cadet leadership, to compromising, 
anti-revolutionary Cadet tactics. On the other hand, Ple- 
khanov's excess of zeal causes confusion in the ranks of the 
Mensheviks: both the Bundists and the Caucasian Men- 
sheviks have made a public condemnation, in the press, of 
Plekhanov's pronouncements. Confused and perplexed, the 
Central Committee, where the Mensheviks have a ma- 
jority, remains silent. Plekhanov is isolated and is silent, too. 

The third stage. The beginning of mass action. Election 
meetings in Moscow and St. Petersburg. A gust of fresh air 
from the street penetrates into the musty atmosphere of 
intellectualist political chicanery. The mythical nature of 
the Black-Hundred 9 danger at once becomes apparent; 
the street supports the Bolshevik contention that, by their 
outcry against the Black-Hundred danger, the Cadets are 
leading the opportunists by the nose in order to avert the 
danger threatening them from the Left. The struggle at 
election meetings in St. Petersburg and Moscow is, in sub- 
stance, a struggle between the Cadets and the Social-Demo- 
crats, mainly the Bolshevik Social-Democrats. The Cadets 
try to drag everybody — the street, the crowd, the masses — 
to the Right; they oppose revolutionary demands, and, 
under the guise of following the path of "peaceful parlia- 
mentarianism", have high praise for a deal with the reac- 
tionaries. The Bolshevik Social-Democrats call the masses to 
the Left, and expose the fraudulent, selfish, class character 
of the fairy-tales about peaceful methods. The Mensheviks 
fade into the background (on the admission of the very Cadet 
press which is so enamoured of them); they timidly criticise 
the Cadets, not in a manner befitting socialists but like 
Left Cadets, and they talk just as timidly about the need 
for an agreement with the Cadets. 

The fourth stage. The Conference of the St. Petersburg 
Social-Democratic organisation 10 takes place. At this Con- 
ference, which has been elected by all the members of the 
Social-Democratic Party on the basis of discussions (i.e., 
the general opinion on the question of agreements with the 
Cadets was solicited), the Bolsheviks are in absolute pre- 
ponderance irrespective of whether votes challenged by 
either side are counted, uncounted, or counted at a special 



quota. The Mensheviks walk out of the Conference and 
launch splitting tactics. Formally, they try to screen their 
conduct by means of ridiculous and miserable hair-splitting 
on points of organisation (they allege that the Bolshevik 
endorsement of credentials is irregular, although the Bolshe- 
viks preponderate, no matter how the credentials are counted; 
secondly, that the Conference has refused to divide into 
two sections, a city section and gubernia* section, although 
the Central Committee has no right to demand this accord- 
ing to the rules, and has not demanded it of Wilno, Odessa, 
or any other cities). 

Actually, the reason why the Mensheviks are creating a 
split is obvious to everyone: the opportunist Social-Demo- 
crats are deserting the proletariat for the liberal bourgeoi- 
sie, deserting the workers' Social-Democratic organisations 
for amorphous, non-party election groups. 

The Conference pays absolutely no attention to the Men- 
shevik walk-out and carries on with its own work. In St. 
Petersburg there are disputes even among the Bolsheviks; 
the so-called pure Bolsheviks would have no agreements 
with any other party whatsoever. The so-called dissenters 
are in favour of an agreement with revolutionary democracy, 
with the Trudoviks, in order to smash the hegemony of the 
Cadets over the unenlightened working-class masses in the 
capital of Russia. In certain cases, these disputes between 
the "purists" and the "dissenters" become acute, but actually 
all the Bolsheviks realise full well that this disagreement 
does not divide them on questions of principle but merely 
serves to stimulate a thorough and business-like discussion 
of all chances and prospects in the elections. 

The socialist proletariat cannot refuse the non-socialist 
petty-bourgeois masses permission to follow its leadership 
in order that it may emancipate them from the influence 
of the Cadets. After a thorough discussion the Conference 
passes a resolution to offer the Socialist-Revolutionaries 11 

* Gubernia, uyezd, volost — Russian administrative-territorial units. 
The largest of those was the gubernia, which had its subdivisions 
in uyezds, which in turn were subdivided into volosts. This system 
continued under the Soviet power until the introduction of 
the new administrative-territorial division of the country in 
1929-30.— Ed. 


and the Committee of the Trudovik Group agreements on 
the following basis: two places to the worker curia, two to 
the Social-Democrats, and two to the Trudoviks. 

In St. Petersburg this was the only correct and the only 
possible decision; the task of defeating the Cadets could 
not be neglected; there would be no Black-Hundred danger 
if there were two Left election lists; but there could be if 
the Lefts were split still further, and it would be impos- 
sible to rally the masses of voters. The Conference's offer 
left the preponderance of the Social-Democrats intact; 
it consolidated the ideological and political hegemony of 
Social-Democracy in all the purity of its principles. 

As for the Popular Socialist Party, the Conference de- 
cided to exclude it from the bloc as a semi-Cadet party, 
evasive on fundamental issues of the struggle outside the 
Duma. It is well known that after the Duma was dissolved 
this party separated from the revolutionary petty bourgeoi- 
sie and began to preach caution and moderation, in the 
legal press. 

It goes without saying that revolutionary Social-Democ- 
racy had to demand that the Socialist-Revolutionaries 
adopt a definite attitude towards such a party, and either 
insist on its exclusion (this would probably have been quite 
feasible if the Mensheviks had not deserted the socialists 
for the Cadets at the decisive moment), or at least to dis- 
claim all responsibility for such "Trudoviks". 

The fifth stage. The split caused by the Mensheviks 
raises the hopes of the whole liberal bourgeoisie. The whole 
Cadet press is jubilant — jubilant over the "isolation" of 
the hated Bolsheviks, and the "courageous" way in which 
the Mensheviks went over from the revolution to the "opposi- 
tion bloc". Rech, 12 the author of this latter expression, 
has outspokenly given the Mensheviks and Popular Social- 
ists the title of "moderate socialist parties" . Indeed, the im- 
pression is created that the Cadets will win over the whole 
of the petty bourgeoisie (i.e., all the Trudoviks, including 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries) and the whole petty-bour- 
geois section of the workers' party, i.e., the Mensheviks. 

The Bolsheviks calmly continue their independent activ- 
ities. We are glad, they say, to isolate ourselves from this 
dirty business, from the treachery and vacillation of the 



petty bourgeoisie. We shall not subordinate our tactics 
to seat-hunting. We declare: in any case there will be three 
election lists in St. Petersburg: the Black-Hundred, the 
Cadet, and the Social-Democratic. 

The sixth stage. The elections in the worker curia and 
the exposure of the duplicity of the Trudoviks. 

In the worker curia the Social-Democrats win, but the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries obtain a much larger share of 
the votes than we expected. It turns out that it was mainly 
Mensheviks that the Socialist-Revolutionaries defeated in 
the worker curia. We are informed that in Vyborg District, 
the Menshevik stronghold, more Socialist-Revolutionaries 
have been elected than Social-Democrats! 

Our country, therefore, bears out a phenomenon that has 
long been observed in other countries. Opportunism in So- 
cial-Democracy is so repulsive to the working masses that 
they swing over to the revolutionary bourgeoisie. The 
highly unstable and vacillating policy of the Mensheviks 
immensely weakens Social-Democracy and plays into the 
hands of the Cadets in the urban curia, and of the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries in the worker curia. 

It is only revolutionary Social-Democracy that can meet 
the needs of the proletarian masses and permanently alie- 
nate them from all petty-bourgeois parties. 

On the other hand, however, the events also reveal Tru- 
dovik duplicity. In the worker curia they (the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries) defeat us by routing the Mensheviks, who 
favour a bloc with the Cadets. At the same time they are 
playing a most unprincipled game in the election campaign. 
They make no party declarations, publish no independent 
organisational decisions, conduct no open discussion on the 
question of blocs with the Cadets. One would think that 
they were deliberately blowing out all the candles — like 
people who need the dark for their dark deeds. 

It is said that the Socialist-Revolutionaries have formed 
a bloc with the Popular Socialists. No one knows the terms 
or the character of that bloc. It is all guess-work. It is 
said (cf. Rodnaya Zemlya of January 15; this is the news- 
paper that Mr. Tan 13 writes for) that the Socialist-Revo- 
lutionaries are in favour of a bloc with the Cadets. No one 
knows the truth. It is all guess work. The same confusion 


is revealed at election meetings: one Socialist-Revolution- 
ary, jointly with the Popular Socialists, advocates a bloc 
with the Cadets; another gets a resolution carried against 
a bloc with the Cadets and for a bloc of all the Lefts against 
the Cadets. 

The utter instability and duplicity of the entire petty 
bourgeoisie, including its most revolutionary section, is 
now clearly demonstrated to the masses. Were it not for 
the petty-bourgeois opportunists in our own Social-Demo- 
cratic ranks, we should have an excellent opportunity of 
explaining to all the workers why only the Social-Demo- 
crats are capable of defending their interests honestly and 

It is on that basis that the Bolsheviks are carrying on 
their agitation. The Bolsheviks are unswervingly pursuing 
their own line. In St. Petersburg there are sure to be Cadet 
and Social-Democratic election lists. Our decision does 
not depend on the vacillations of the petty bourgeoisie: 
if they respond to our call and follow the proletariat against 
the liberals, so much the better for them. If not, so much 
the worse for them; in any case we shall pursue the Social- 
Democratic path. 

The seventh stage. Disintegration. The Cadets get them- 
selves mixed up in negotiations with the Black Hundreds. 
The petty-bourgeois opportunists get themselves mixed up 
in negotiations with the Cadets. The Bolsheviks unswerv- 
ingly pursue their own line. 

The newspapers report: (1) that Mr. Stolypin has granted 
an audience to Mr. Milyukov; (2) that, according to reports 
in the foreign press, the government is willing to legalise 
the Cadet Party on condition that it forms no blocs with 
the Lefts. 

A ray of light is thrown on the backstage machinations 
of the liberal traitors. The Cadets are afraid to reject the 
offer of the Black Hundreds, for the latter threaten to dis- 
solve the Duma. 

That is the real reason why the Cadets, to the horror of 
the petty bourgeois opportunists, have suddenly become so 
"adamant" on the question of agreements. 

The Cadets are obdurate. More than two seats for all 
the Lefts? Never! In issue after issue the Cadet Rech 



explains very distinctly and didactically that it is willing 
to lead the moderate socialists (two seats out of six) in 
order to combat "revolutionary illusions", to combat revo- 
lution. March with the revolution? Never! 

The opportunists are in despair. The tone of the articles 
in Tovarishch against Rech grows positively hysterical. Mr. 
Bogucharsky, the renegade Social-Democrat, twists and 
turns, exhorting Rech, and, jointly with other writers on 
Tovarishch, urges it to consider what it is doing, etc. The 
recent joint jubilation of Rech and Tovarishch over the iso- 
lation of the Bolsheviks and the submission of the moderate 
socialists to the liberals now gives way to angry recrimina- 
tions and a free fight. On January 7, St. Petersburg learned 
of the decision of the St. Petersburg Social-Democratic 
Conference. Today is January 18. But so far the Cadets 
and the opportunists have not decided anything. The tone 
of Rech today is particularly uncompromising towards 
Tovarishch, and the tone of Tovarishch today is particularly 
sharp and perplexed in its remarks against Rech. 

The Bolsheviks are unswervingly pursuing their own line. 
There will be three election lists in St. Petersburg. Where 
the petty bourgeoisie will find themselves is their busi- 
ness: the revolutionary proletariat will do its duty in any case. 

What the eighth stage will be we do not know. This, 
in the final analysis, depends on the negotiations, on the 
relations between the Cadets and the Black-Hundred 
government. If they "come to terms" on the immediate legal- 
isation of the Cadets, or on some other point, the petty 
bourgeoisie will be isolated. If, for the time being, the Cadets 
and the Black Hundreds fail to come to terms, the Cadets 
may even concede three seats to the petty bourgeoisie. The 
Social-Democrats will not allow this to determine their 

The course of events in the St. Petersburg election cam- 
paign provides us with a miniature but excellent picture 
of the relations between the Black Hundreds, the Cadets 
and the revolutionary proletariat. And this course of events 
strikingly confirms the old, tested and uncompromising 
tactics of the revolutionary Social-Democrats. 

A straight policy is the best policy. A policy based on 
principles is the most practical policy. Such a policy alone 


can really win Social-Democracy the lasting sympathy and 
confidence of the masses. It alone can free the workers' 
party from responsibility for the negotiations between 
Stolypin and Milyukov, and between Milyukov and Annen- 
sky, Dan or Chernov. 

Henceforth, this responsibility must forever be borne 
by the opportunist Social-Democrats and the "Trudovik 

It is not surprising that the vacillating Mensheviks 
are trying to save themselves by resorting to hypocrisy. 
We are in favour either of a struggle against the Black- 
Hundred danger or of purely Social-Democratic election 
lists, say the Social-Democrats who left the Conference (if 
we are to believe today's newspapers). This is an amusing 
subterfuge, which only very simple-minded people can be- 
lieve! It has been proved that there is no Black-Hundred 
danger in St. Petersburg if there are two Left election lists. 
But what if there are three? Are the Mensheviks anxious to 
try thisl\ No, they are simply clutching at anything, for 
the course of events has forced them to the wall: they must 
either desert to the Cadets and submit entirely to their 
ideological and political hegemony, or follow the Bolshe- 
viks, the Social-Democratic election list to which the Tru- 
doviks may be admitted. 

In St. Petersburg such an election list would probably 
defeat both the Black Hundreds and the Cadets. And having 
chosen a correct line from the very outset, revolutionary 
Social-Democrats will unswervingly pursue it, undaunted 
by the possibility of temporary defeats in the event of the 
petty bourgeoisie deserting to the liberals — drawing new 
strength and determination from the vacillation and inde- 
cision of the opportunists. 

There will be three election lists in St. Petersburg: the 
Black-Hundred, the Cadet, and the Social-Democratic! 

Citizens, make your choice! 

Prostiye Rechi, No. 2, 
January 21, 1907 

Published according 
to the text in Prostiye Rechi 



The St. Petersburg elections provide a wealth of instruc- 
tive material for a true study of the character of the var- 
ious parties, and the class tendencies, or class significance, 
of their policies. 

In this respect two facts are of greatest interest: the 
negotiations between the Cadets and Stolypin, the leader 
of the Black-Hundred government, and the negotiations 
between the petty-bourgeois parties and the liberal landlords, 
the Cadets. 

So far we know very little about the negotiations between 
the Cadets and the Black Hundreds: the audience granted 
by Stolypin to Milyukov, attempts to legalise the Cadet 
Party, for which the Cadets are to pay by abstaining from 
entering into blocs with the Lefts. These negotiations are 
being carried on very secretly, and their exposure is a mat- 
ter of the future. 

The other negotiations are to a certain extent public. 
The role the opportunist Social-Democrats are playing in 
them is particularly clear. 

Why did they break away from the St. Petersburg So- 
cial-Democratic organisation? 

So as to make a deal with the Cadets. 

But the Cadets will not agree to a deal with the Men- 
sheviks alone. 

And so, the Mensheviks are entering into a bloc with all 
the petty-bourgeois parties, i.e., the Socialist-Revolution- 
aries, the Trudoviks, and the Popular Socialists. 

The opportunists who have broken away from Social-De- 
mocracy are going over to the petty bourgeoisie! 

What are the terms of this bloc? 



They are: to enter into a joint agreement with the Cadets 
to secure for the Left bloc three Duma seats out of the 

We know that the agreement between the Mensheviks 
and the petty-bourgeois parties has been made in writing — 
at any rate, a joint resolution has been adopted. Appar- 
ently, the new allies do not want to inform the public about 
it, or are in no hurry to do so. 

We also know that Comrade Dan took part in the negotia- 
tions on the formation of this bloc, although he had not been 
authorised to do so either by the group of breakaway St. 
Petersburg Social-Democrats (31), or by any other party 

We could not even dream of better confirmation than 
that provided by the course of political events, of our con- 
stant assertion that the Mensheviks are the opportunist, 
petty-bourgeois section of the workers' party, and that 
they are as unprincipled and vacillating as the petty bour- 
geoisie in general. 

Just think what the Mensheviks are doing. Did they 
not proclaim from the housetops that they were protecting 
the class purity of Social-Democracy against the Bolshe- 
viks, who, they alleged, were leaning towards the petty- 
bourgeois Socialist-Revolutionaries? 

And now events are unmasking them. The Bolsheviks 
are openly urging the petty bourgeoisie to follow the prole- 
tariat against the liberal bourgeoisie. 

The Mensheviks refuse, and secretly (for no one knows 
the terms of the bloc, and no one has authorised Comrade 
Dan) enter into a bloc with all the petty-bourgeois groups, 
including the extreme Right wing (the Popular Socialists), 
in order jointly to surrender those workers who are under 
their influence to the leadership of the liberal bourgeoi- 

All the petty-bourgeois parties, including the Mensheviks 
(it is not for nothing that Rech has already registered them 
as part of the "opposition bloc" which has abandoned the 
revolution, and has classified the Popular Socialists and the 
Mensheviks among the "moderate socialist parties"), pre- 
fer bargaining with the liberals to fighting in the ranks of 
the proletariat. 



Let all class-conscious workers in St. Petersburg con- 
sider very carefully whither the Mensheviks are leading 
the workers' party! 

What, may it be asked, is the result of the negotiations 
between the petty bourgeoisie and the liberals? 

So far, all we know from today's papers (January 19) is 
that a meeting took place in St. Petersburg yesterday of 
representatives of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Tru- 
dovik Group, the Popular Socialists and the Mensheviks 
(i.e., the entire new petty-bourgeois bloc), and the Cadets. 
According to this report, the Cadets have definitely refused 
to cede three seats to the "Left bloc". But the "Left" bloc 
has refused to accept two seats. 

Rech says in this connection: "The representatives of the 
Bolshevik Social-Democrats did not attend the conference." 
That is true. We do not associate with the petty bourgeoisie 
to betray the workers' party to the liberals! 

What will happen next? No one knows. Probably, the 
petty-bourgeois bloc and the Cadets will go on with their 

It is reported, however, that there is a workers' committee 
in the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, which emphatically 
condemns blocs with the Cadets. What truth there is in 
this, we do not know, for the Socialist-Revolutionaries are 
deliberately concealing from the public both the terms of their 
agreement with the Popular Socialists (no one even knows 
when and by whom, exactly, this agreement was concluded!) 
and the trends in their own party on the question of blocs 
with the Cadets. 

Today (January 19), Rech has published a resolution 
adopted by the St. Petersburg Committee of the Socialist- 
Revolutionary Party which confirms the rumour that the 
workers' section of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party is 
not in favour of blocs with the Cadets. The Rech report 
reads as follows: 

"The St. Petersburg Committee of the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionary Party, having entered into an agreement [which? 
when? on what terms?]* with the Trudovik and Popular 

* Interpolations in square brackets (within passages quoted by 
Lenin) have been introduced by Lenin unless otherwise indicated. — Ed. 



Socialist groups, has decided to submit to both sections 
of the Social-Democratic Party — the Bolsheviks and the 
Mensheviks — a proposal that the socialist [?] groups en- 
ter into an agreement for the purpose of conducting the 
pre[?]-election campaign in the most purposeful manner; 
and in the event of no agreement being reached with the two 
sections, to enter into an agreement with the Bolsheviks. 
In concluding this joint socialist agreement, the represent- 
atives of the Socialist-Revolutionaries must insist [?!?] 
on the impermissibility of agreements with the Cadets, 
and on the independent action of the socialist alliance. 

"If, however, the majority of the groups [?] consider 
that a technical [!?] agreement with the Cadets is more 
expedient than independent action, the St. Petersburg Com- 
mittee of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party will submit [!] 
to the decision of the majority [the majority of other par- 
ties!], but will make it an absolute condition of the agree- 
ment that all the seats to which the socialist groups will 
be entitled shall be ceded exclusively to the worker 

A prize of 1,000,000 rubles might well be offered to anyone 
who could make anything out of this rigmarole! Insist on 
the impermissibility of agreements with the Cadets after 
having provisionally formed a bloc with the Popular So- 
cialists who are wholeheartedly in favour of the Cadets! 
Demand from the Cadets three seats for the worker curia 
exclusively and at the same time take part in a "conference" 
with the Cadets jointly with the Popular Socialists and the 
Trudoviks, who do not make such a demand! Boast of in- 
dependence as a party as distinct from "groups" and at the 
same time submit to the "majority", i.e., to the three groups 
(Trudoviks, Popular Socialists and Mensheviks)! 0 wise 
Oedipus, solve this riddle! 

And the workers representing the Socialist-Revolution- 
ary Party (in the Moscow District of St. Petersburg) approve 
this petty-bourgeois eyewash, which conceals the betrayal 
of their interests to the liberals! But these workers add: 
"We express our deep indignation with the Menshevik fac- 
tion of the Social-Democratic Party for its obstructionist 
behaviour towards other socialist groups and parties." 

O simple-minded Socialist-Revolutionary proletarians! 



If you are indignant with the Mensheviks, why are you 
not indignant with the St. Petersburg Committee of the So- 
cialist-Revolutionary Party? Both are dragging you under 
the wing of the liberals. 

The underlying cause of this dissension within the petty- 
bourgeois bloc is quite clear. There is a danger of a rupture 
with the Cadets. The Popular Socialists and the Menshe- 
viks are, perhaps, not averse to accepting two seats from 
the Cadets and to betraying the rest of the petty bourgeoi- 
sie, just as the Mensheviks betrayed the proletariat! 

That's what's behind it all! 

From rung to rung downwards. Betray the workers' 
party and join the petty-bourgeois bloc. Betray the petty- 
bourgeois democratic bloc and join the Cadets! Go, and 
good riddance! 

At the audience granted to him by Stolypin, Milyukov 
said: "May it please Your Excellency to note that I have 
split the revolution and have torn the moderates away from 
it. Haven't I earned a tip, Your Grace?"... Stolypin: "Well, 
yes, I will petition for your legalisation. I'll tell you what, 
Pavel Nikolayevich, you split that working-class rabble 
gently, and I will do it with a club. And so ... between the 
two of us... Let's shake hands on it, Pavel Nikolayevich!" 

Written on January 19 
(February 1), 1907 

Published in Proletary, No. 12, Published according 

January 25, 1907 to the newspaper text 



We have just received a pamphlet entitled Why We Were 
Compelled To Leave the Conference (Declaration Submitted 
to the Central Committee by 31 Members of the Conference). 

In it the Mensheviks do not say a single word about the 
principles involved! Their defection from the workers' 
party to the petty-bourgeois bloc (the Mensheviks, the So- 
cialist-Revolutionaries, the Trudoviks, and the Popular 
Socialists), and thence to the Cadets, is evidently of no 
interest to the proletariat. These protestants have no desire 
to discuss the real point at issue, but deal only with for- 

Let us examine their formal arguments. There are three 
of them: (1) The history of the St. Petersburg Committee 
and its undemocratic organisation; (2) the irregularities 
in the Conference's endorsement of credentials; (3) the 
refusal of the Conference to divide into two parts, one for 
the city and one for the gubernia. 

On the first point we should like to ask: what has the St. 
Petersburg Committee to do with it? Special elections were 
held for the Conference, were they not? 

Essentially the Mensheviks are telling atrocious lies 
about the history of the St. Petersburg Committee and its 
alleged undemocratic organisation. It is worth noting 
as a curiosity, for instance, that the Latvian District (the 
inclusion of which the Mensheviks complain about), was 
included before the Unity Congress, that is, when there was 
an equal number of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks on the St. 
Petersburg Committee. More than six months ago, there- 
fore, the Mensheviks themselves voluntarily agreed that it 
was correct to include the Letts. Or take another instance: 



the Mensheviks complain that the St. Petersburg Committee 
had allowed the co-optation of a certain number of mem- 
bers. They forget to add that it was the Mensheviks themselves 
that had carried out the co-optation. These instances enable 
one to judge the fairness of this belated criticism of the way 
the St. Petersburg Committee was formed. 

Their second argument is that the Conference, if you 
please, committed irregularities in endorsing the creden- 
tials. The Mensheviks refuse to recognise the shop-assistants' 
votes, and claim that the following distribution of votes 
is the only correct one: Bolshevik — 1,560, plus 180 in favour 
of the platform of the revolutionary bloc — total, 1,740. 
Menshevik — 1,589. Or credentials, counting those left over: 
Bolshevik — 35; Menshevik — 32 (see p. 8 of the Menshevik 

It remains for us only to emphasise that even in the opin- 
ion of our severest critics the Bolsheviks had, and were 
bound to have, preponderance at the Conference. 

Everybody knows, comrades, that the "dissenters" (the 
platform of the revolutionary bloc) were also Bolsheviks. 
And since you yourselves admit that the Bolsheviks would 
have had 35 credentials against 32 even if the endorsement 
of the credentials depended on the Mensheviks, why make 
all this fuss? 

You yourselves are compelled to admit that the St. Peters- 
burg Social-Democratic organisation is a Bolshevik body. 

But let us see how the Mensheviks criticise the way in 
which the credentials were verified at the Conference. 

They do not want to consider the votes of the shop-assist- 
ants at all. Why? "On the pretext that it was impossible 
to hold meetings," says the pamphlet, "the leading body 
of the shop-assistants, after an attempt to take a referendum 
of its members, which resulted in only 100 votes being 
cast, was authorised by the St. Petersburg Committee to 
elect five representatives, allowing, no one knows why, 
one per 60 members, there being 313 organised shop-as- 
sistants"... (p. 4). 

The difficulty of organising a meeting of shop-assistants 
is common knowledge. On what grounds is this called a 
"pretext"? On what grounds are 313 organised shop-assist- 
ants (i.e., Party members) to be kept out? Do you not 



admit yourselves that an attempt was made to take a refer- 
endum, i.e., that the leading body took steps to get all 
the members of the Party to express their opinion? 

And by reducing the rate of representation from one 
per 50 to one per 60, the St. Petersburg Committee admitted 
that the representation was not entirely democratic. 

Moscow District: among the challenged votes the 
Mensheviks recognise 185 Bolshevik votes. But under the 
heading "Reasons for Challenging", the authors of the 
pamphlet themselves write literally the following: "Chal- 
lenged tentatively, in case the Bolsheviks refuse to endorse 
similar elections in another district." 

Isn't that good? The Mensheviks challenged the Bolshe- 
vik credentials tentatively, in case...!! In summing up they 
themselves state that "the number of votes that should really 
have been disqualified" was 115, and not 300; i.e., they 
themselves admit that 185 should have been endorsedl 

Thus, the Menshevik methods consist in challenging 
"tentatively" votes that really should be endorsed! 

And such people have the insolence to talk about irre- 
gular representation at the Conference.... 

The Mensheviks themselves count the number of incon- 
testable votes as 1,376 for the Bolsheviks and 795 for the 
Mensheviks. And that means, my dear comrades, that even 
by adopting the unheard-of and original method of "ten- 
tative challenging" you were unable to challenge the bulk 
of the Bolshevik votes! 

Of the 789 Menshevik votes challenged by the Bolshe- 
viks (according to the pamphlet) the 234 votes of the Vyborg 
District are of special importance. Under the heading: 
"Reasons for Challenging" we read: "The elections were not 
carried out on the basis of platforms, although discussions 
were held." The fact that discussions were held does not 
prove in the least that the voters themselves spoke in favour 
of blocs with the Cadets, so that the Conference was right 
in refusing to assign to the partisans of a bloc with the 
Cadets those votes that were not directly and unambiguously 
in favour of it: The Conference reduced the representation 
for these 234 votes. 

Further, the Bolsheviks challenged the 370 votes of 
the Franco-Russian Subdistrict (City District). Under the 



heading: "Reasons for Challenging" we read: "Without plat- 
forms — 100, and the remainder (270) — by two-stage elections 
with discussions." 

You see, the votes of the shop-assistants ought to have 
been disqualified despite the "attempt to take a referen- 
dum". All the Menshevik votes ought to have been endorsed, 
despite the two-stage elections, which in fact did not in the 
least differ from the method by which the shop-assistants 
elected their representatives! No, Menshevik comrades; 
your defence of the Menshevik credentials is very weak! 

As regards dividing the Conference, the Mensheviks 
refer to it very briefly: "Although this proposal was per- 
fectly rational" , the Conference rejected it (p. 5). But on 
the very next page the secret of its "rationality" is indis- 
creetly revealed: "Within the precincts of the city the Men- 
sheviks had an overwhelming majority" (?!) (if the votes 
were counted in the Menshevik fashion, i.e., if all the 
shop-assistants' votes were eliminated and all the Franco- 
Russian and Vyborg votes were included!). 

So that's the game! Division was rational because it 
would have given the Mensheviks a fictitious majority. 
Simple, is it not? Why, then, comrades, did you forget to 
mention what "rational" division you propose for the Rail- 
way District, for instance, and why the Central Committee 
did not think it rational to propose that the conferences at 
Wilno, Odessa, etc., be divided? 

The Menshevik protests over formalities are empty and 
trivial quibbling. What is serious is their decision to de- 
sert to the Cadets. But the 31 protestants are absolutely 
silent about that. 

Proletary, No. 12, 
January 25, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 



The newspaper Tovarishch has today (January 20) pub- 
lished lengthy excerpts from the manifesto of the thirty- 
one Mensheviks who seceded from the socialist organisation 
on the eve of the St. Petersburg elections. 

First of all, let us briefly recall the actual history of what 
the Menshevik seceders from the Social-Democrats have done 
since they walked out of the Conference. 

(1) After breaking away from the Social-Democrat 
workers, they entered into a bloc with the petty bourgeoisie 
(the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Trudoviks and the Pop- 
ular Socialists) in order jointly to bargain with the Cadets 
for seats. The written agreement under which the seceding 
Social-Democrats joined the petty-bourgeois bloc was con- 
cealed from the workers and from the public. 

However we still have hopes that this agreement will 
eventually be published, and the secret revealed. 

(2) As a constituent part of the petty-bourgeois bloc 
(incorrectly styled the "Left bloc" by the newspapers), 
the breakaway Mensheviks bargained with the Cadets for 
three places out of the six for this bloc. The Cadets offered 
two seats. They could not come to terms. The meeting 
between the petty-bourgeois "conference" (this expression 
is not ours — we borrow it from the newspapers) and the 
Cadets was held on January 18. Both Rech and Tovarishch 
reported it. Rech announces today that no agreement was 
reached (although we must, of course, be prepared to hear 
that negotiations are still being conducted behind the 



So far the Mensheviks have made no announcement in 
the press concerning their operation for the sale of workers' 
votes to the Cadets. 

They will probably report to the petty-bourgeois bloc, 
part of which they formed during the negotiations, and not 
to the workers' party! 

They probably do not like to say why Comrade Dan took 
part in the negotiations, although he had been authorised 
to do so neither by the group of thirty-one nor by any other 
Party organisation. 

Such are the deeds of the thirty-one Mensheviks. 

What are their words'? 

Their first argument is that, having denied that there 
is a Black-Hundred danger in St. Petersburg, the Bolshe- 
viks had no right to declare in favour of an agreement with 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Trudoviks, as that 
runs counter to the decisions of the All-Russian Conference, 
which demand independent action on the part of the So- 
cial-Democrats in the absence of a Black-Hundred danger. 

This argument is false from beginning to end. 

The thirty-one breakaway Mensheviks are deceiving the 
reading public. No Party body has ever laid an official ban 
on agreements with the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the 
Trudoviks in the absence of a Black-Hundred danger. Such 
an agreement has been concluded in Moscow, for instance, 
and the Central Committee has not challenged it. 

But that is not all. The extent to which the thirty-one 
Mensheviks are distorting the truth when they invoke the 
decision of the All-Russian Social-Democratic Conference 
can be seen from the following. It is common knowledge 
that the decisions of this (advisory) Conference were carried 
by the votes of the Mensheviks and the Bundists against 
those of the Bolsheviks, the Poles and the Letts. And these 
very Bundists who were instrumental in getting the deci- 
sion of the All-Russian Social-Democratic Conference 
passed, have officially sanctioned blocs with the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, and with revolutionary democrats in gen- 
eral, where there is no Black-Hundred danger, but where there 
is a Cadet danger. The Central Committee of the Bund 
has adopted a decision to that effect, and no one has pro- 
tested against it. It was reported in Nasha Tribuna, the 


Russian organ of the Bund, and all Russian Social-Demo- 
crats who are able to read know it. 

The thirty-one Mensheviks are deceiving the workers and 
the entire reading public. 

We have also explained that the All-Russian Social-Dem- 
ocratic Conference authorised the Central Committee 
everywhere to exclude non-Social-Democrats from the So- 
cial-Democratic election list, i.e., to demand absolutely 
independent action on the part of the Social-Democrats. 
So far the Central Committee has nowhere exercised this 
right, thus, in effect, recognising the autonomy of the Bund 
and of all other organisations of the Russian Social-Demo- 
cratic Labour Party. 

Further, the thirty-one Mensheviks are displeased be- 
cause the Conference excluded the Popular Socialists (P.S., 
or Social Narodniks) from the Trudovik bloc. The thirty- 
one Mensheviks write: "It is common knowledge that these 
three parties [the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Popular 
Socialists and the Trudoviks; the latter are not a party] 
formed a tight bloc in St. Petersburg long ago and are acting 

That is another untruth. First, it has never been officially 
declared anywhere that such a bloc has been formed and 
that its terms are really of a nature that would make it 
a "tight bloc". There have been only the vaguest newspaper 
reports, and they cannot be relied upon where important 
affairs are concerned and official relations between parties 
exist. Secondly, the fact that the Socialist-Revolutionaries 
and the Committee of the Trudovik Group, who were ap- 
proached by the Social-Democratic Conference, started 
negotiations without the Popular Socialists proves that the 
bloc of the three Trudovik parties and groups was not a 
particularly "tight" one. A bloc which does not prevent 
any of its constituent parts from conducting negotiations 
independently of the other cannot be called a tight bloc. 
We have so far received no official answer from the Social- 
ist-Revolutionaries with the demand that we consent to 
an agreement with the Popular Socialists too. Thirdly, 
Tovarishch publishes, on the same page as the communi- 
cation of the thirty-one Mensheviks, the "January 16 
resolution of the St. Petersburg Committee of the Socialist 



Revolutionary Party". A note to this resolution reads as 
follows: "The withdrawal from the agreement [that is, the 
agreement between the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Tru- 
doviks and the Popular Socialists] of the Popular Social- 
ist Group will not dissolve the agreement. The withdrawal 
of any other socialist group or party, however, will dissolve 
that agreement." 

Thus, the facts prove that the thirty-one Mensheviks 
were not speaking the truth when they called the Trudovik 
bloc a tight bloc. 

The Conference of the St. Petersburg Social-Democrats 
was right in rejecting the Popular Socialists. Firstly, it 
was right in principle, for there is no doubt that the Pop- 
ular Socialist Party stands more to the Right, is more 
unreliable and closer to the Cadets, than any other Trudo- 
vik party. Secondly, it was right from the standpoint of 
practical politics, for it made a correct forecast of that 
line of division between the Trudovik parties which in- 
evitably revealed itself in the course of the political campaign. 
It is now clear to all that, had the Trudoviks nevertheless 
succeeded in foisting the Popular Socialists on us (it would, 
of course, be ridiculous to fear the inclusion of the Popular 
Socialists in the Trudovik bloc if that could ensure victory 
over the Cadets in St. Petersburg), the responsibility for 
the unreliable Trudoviks would have rested entirely with 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries and not with the Social- 
Democrats. The workers' party took care to let all workers 
and all citizens know the real difference between the more 
reliable and the less reliable Trudoviks; it took care that 
responsibility for the bad Trudoviks should rest with the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries, not with the party of the pro- 

What conclusion should be drawn from all this fuss over 
the Popular Socialists? 

The conclusion is that the Mensheviks behaved in an 
unprincipled manner in joining a petty-bourgeois bloc 
without any discrimination, and proved incapable of doing 
what Social-Democrats are in duty bound to do in an elec- 
tion campaign, namely, to teach the masses to draw strict 
and proper distinctions between parties. The Mensheviks 
hastened to take their place in a single petty-bourgeois bloc 


with the Popular Socialists, in other words, with a semi- 
Cadet group! 

The Bolsheviks were consistent in matters of principle. 
They started with an open resolution, published everywhere 
in the name of an official Social-Democratic body, informing 
all and sundry of the Popular Socialist Party's unreli- 
ability. The Bolsheviks have now achieved the result that 
the more revolutionary Trudoviks (the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries) have themselves declared that the Popular Social- 
ists may leave the Trudovik bloc without leading to its 

The Bolsheviks have achieved the separation of the 
revolutionary Trudoviks from the opportunist Trudoviks. 
The Mensheviks are immersed right up to their ears in an 
opportunist petty-bourgeois bloc. 

The Bolsheviks have openly and publicly called upon 
the Trudoviks to join them in battle against the Cadets, 
and have already achieved undoubted political results, 
although they have not as yet entered into any bloc with 
anybody. Secretly from the workers, and discarding all 
principles, the Mensheviks have crawled into a petty- 
bourgeois bloc so as to haggle with the Cadets. 

From this the workers can judge whither the Mensheviks 
are really leading them. 

The third and last argument of the thirty-one Menshe- 
viks is that an agreement between the Social-Democrats 
and the Trudoviks in St. Petersburg would not diminish 
the Black-Hundred danger, but increase it. This assertion 
is so absurd, or so hypocritical, that we shall quote the 
Menshevik argument in full: 

"A joint Social-Democratic and Narodnik election list will be 
popular enough to divert many votes from the Cadets, but not pop- 
ular enough to achieve victory throughout St. Petersburg, especially 
if, in the eyes of the average voter, the blame for the non-conclusion 
of an agreement between all the revolutionary and opposition par- 
ties lies with the Social-Democrats and their allies. In that case, a 
considerable diversion of votes from the Cadets will benefit the unit- 
ed Black Hundreds, who will defeat both the Cadet and the Left 
election lists." 

This whole argument is a piece of sheer hypocrisy in- 
tended to screen the bargaining for seats that is going on 
between the Mensheviks and the Cadets. 



Indeed, just think what the Mensheviks are saying: 
an agreement between the Social-Democrats and the Tru- 
doviks will increase the Black-Hundred danger, for it will 
divert many votes from the Cadets! Very well, my dear 
comrades! But when, in your opinion, is the danger of a 
Black-Hundred victory greatest — when all the non-Black- 
Hundred votes are split between two election lists or when 
they are split between three? Let us assume that the Black 
Hundreds have 1,000 votes and the rest 2,100. When is 
the danger of a Black-Hundred victory greatest: when 
these 2,100 votes are split between two lists, or when 
they are split between three? 

The thirty-one Mensheviks can apply to any schoolboy 
to help them solve this brain-racking problem. 

But we shall proceed. The thirty-one Mensheviks are not 
only talking rank nonsense when they profess not to under- 
stand that if the Social-Democrats and the Trudoviks come 
to an agreement there will be only two anti-Black-Hundred 
lists in St. Petersburg, while if there is no such agreement, 
there may be three. But that is not all. 

In addition, the thirty-one Mensheviks are so ignorant 
of the history of the first elections that they do not know 
the relative proportion of Black-Hundred and Cadet votes 
in the St. Petersburg elections to the First Duma. We did 
not take 1,000 votes for the Black Hundreds and 2,100 for 
the rest at random. This example was typical of nine out 
of the twelve districts of St. Petersburg in the First Duma 

In these nine districts, which together returned 114 elec- 
tors out of 160, the lowest Cadet vote was more than twice 
as high as the highest vote cast for the Black Hundreds, 
or the so-called Right bloc. 

What does this show? 

It shows that if there are two "Left" (i.e., non-Black- 
Hundred) election lists in St. Petersburg, no conceivable 
division of votes between the Lefts can give the victory 
to the Black Hundreds. 

Since the thirty-one Mensheviks are apparently weak in 
elementary arithmetic, let us explain it to them: let 
them try to divide 2,100 into two parts in such a way that 
1,000 Black-Hundred votes will defeat both these parts. 


Let the Mensheviks rack their brains over this problem, 
as well as over the problem of whether three lists instead 
of two will increase or diminish the Black-Hundred danger. 

There are no grounds whatever for supposing that the 
Black Hundreds will be stronger in this year's St. Peters- 
burg elections than they were in last year's. No right- 
minded politician would venture to make such an assertion. 
It is clear to everybody that the Black Hundreds are com- 
pletely discredited after the disclosures of the Lidval case, 
the assassination of Herzenstein, 14 etc. It is common knowl- 
edge that news of Left victories in the elections is now 
coming in from all parts of Russia. 

Under such circumstances, the cries about the Black- 
Hundred danger are the result either of absolute ignorance 
or of hypocrisy. And it is those who conceal their real aims 
and act behind the scenes that must play the hypocrite. 
The Mensheviks are raising an outcry about the Black- 
Hundred danger in order to divert the workers' attention 
from the game they, the Mensheviks, are playing, or did 
play recently, by joining the petty-bourgeois bloc and bar- 
gaining with the Cadets. 

If two Left lists are put up, no split in the votes can give 
the victory to the Black Hundreds in St. Petersburg, un- 
less the latter obtain a higher vote than they did at the 
last elections — and everything goes to indicate that their 
vote will not increase, but will decrease. 

Thus, it was by no means for the purpose of combating 
the Black-Hundred danger that the Mensheviks joined the 
petty-bourgeois bloc and bargained with the Cadets — this 
is a childish fable that can deceive only those who are ab- 
solutely ignorant or hopelessly stupid. 

The Mensheviks bargained with the Cadets to get their 
man into the Duma, in spite of the workers, with the aid of 
the Cadets — such is the simple explanation of all these 
peregrinations from the Social-Democrats to the petty- 
bourgeois bloc and from the petty-bourgeois bloc to the 

None but the very naive can fail to see the purpose be- 
hind the Mensheviks' actions, which they are trying to 



conceal by raising an outcry about the Black-Hundred 

While they were in the petty-bourgeois bloc, the Menshe- 
viks insisted on three seats in the Duma so as to make sure 
of one seat for themselves. If the Cadets had conceded only 
two seats, the Mensheviks might not have obtained even 
one. The Cadets directly offered one seat to the Narodniks 
(Popular Socialists), but dared not take the other from the 
worker curia. And it is not yet certain who will win in the 
worker curia. 

That is why the Mensheviks concealed from the public 
on what authority Comrade Dan was acting, on what terms 
they joined the petty-bourgeois bloc, what exactly was 
discussed at the "conference" of the petty-bourgeois bloc 
with the Cadets, etc., etc. After such behaviour on the part 
of the Mensheviks, we still do not and cannot know where 
they will turn now that the Cadets have rejected them. Will 
the Popular Socialists combine with the Mensheviks to 
wheedle two seats out of the Cadets at the expense of the 
worker curia (an editorial in Rech spoke of the possibility 
of such a decision); or will the Mensheviks decide on inde- 
pendent Social-Democratic lists, i.e., to have three Left 
lists in St. Petersburg instead of two? Or will they return 
to the Social-Democratic Labour Party and to its decision, 
following their luckless visits to the drawing-rooms of the 
petty bourgeoisie and the ante-chamber of the Cadets? 

If the Mensheviks were really guided by fear of the Black- 
Hundred danger, and not by a craving to gain a seat in the 
Duma from the Cadets, could they possibly have broken 
with the Cadets over the number of the seats? 

When a socialist really believes in a Black-Hundred 
danger and is sincerely combating it — he votes for the 
liberals without any bargaining, and does not break off 
negotiations if two seats instead of three are offered him. 
For instance, it may happen that at a second ballot in Europe 
a Black-Hundred danger arises when the liberal obtains, 
say, 8,000 votes, the Black-Hundred representative or 
reactionary, 10,000, and the socialist 3,000. If a socialist 
believes that the Black-Hundred danger is a real danger 
to the working class, he will vote for the liberal. We have 
no second ballot in Russia, but we may get a situation 


analogous to a second ballot in the second stage of the 
elections. If out of 174 electors, say, 86 are of the Black 
Hundreds, 84 Cadets and 4 socialists, the socialists must 
cast their votes for the Cadet candidate, and so far not a 
single member of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour 
Party has questioned this. 

The Mensheviks assert that they fear a Black-Hundred 
danger in St. Petersburg, and yet they break with the Ca- 
dets over the question of two seats or three! 

This is sheer hypocrisy, calculated to screen how the 
petty-bourgeois section of the workers' party is haggling 
over a miserable seat in the Duma, begged from the Cadets. 

Equally hypocritical is the talk the Mensheviks now 
indulge in about an independent Social-Democratic cam- 
paign in St. Petersburg, without the Trudoviks. For example: 
Tovarishch has published the following report of a speech 
delivered by Mr. Levitsky, a Menshevik, at a meeting in 
the Nemetti Theatre on January 19: "The Social-Democrats 
sacrificed their independence in the election campaign only 
in order to avert the Black-Hundred danger. Since they have 
failed in their object, the Social-Democrats must at least 
attempt to develop broad agitation, and the speaker, there- 
fore, declared in favour of independent action by the So- 

Assuming this Levitsky is sound in mind and judgement, 
is he not, may we ask, a hypocrite? Since they have failed 
"to avert the Black-Hundred danger" by putting up one 
joint list for all the Lefts, including the Cadets, Levitsky 
wants three Left lists — Cadet, Social-Democratic and Tru- 

What is this but the floundering of an opportunist who 
feels that the ground has slipped from under his feet, who 
thinks he can make us forget that the day before yesterday 
the Mensheviks were in a petty-bourgeois bloc, and yes- 
terday were bargaining with the Cadets! 

The Mensheviks betrayed the workers, went over to the 
Cadets; and now that their shady deal has failed, ,they want 
to clear themselves by merely talking about independent 
Social-Democratic action! But this is just empty talk, 
mere eyewash; even if there were three Left lists in St. Pe- 
tersburg, the Black Hundreds could win only in the event 



of the Left vote being split; and the Mensheviks themselves 
have strengthened the position of the petty-bourgeois 
bloc by renouncing the proletarian party and entering 
the bloc to bargain with the Cadets together with that 

Indeed, the Mensheviks have plenty to "clear themselves" 
of now — such is the discredit they have brought upon 
themselves by their entire conduct in the St. Petersburg 
election campaign. Indeed, the only thing the Mensheviks 
can now do is to indulge in empty and sonorous phrases, 
for they themselves do not seriously believe that a purely 
Social-Democratic list can be put up in St. Petersburg at 
the present time. 

And we most emphatically warn the Bolsheviks not to 
trust these sonorous and hypocritical phrases. 

The Bolsheviks have nothing to "clear themselves" of, 
nothing to repent of. Our political line, which at first was 
ridiculed by all the bourgeois press in the capital, is now 
being magnificently and strikingly justified by the entire 
course of events. The absurdity of the Black-Hundred 
danger tale is becoming clear. The Cadet danger is becoming 
obvious. The policy of the Cadets, whose leader is being 
(or has been?) received in audience by Stolypin, is now 
being exposed. 

The Bolsheviks did not enter a petty-bourgeois bloc 
behind the back of the workers' party. They did not strength- 
en that bloc by sanctioning the participation of the semi- 
Cadet Popular Socialist Party along with the Trudoviks. 
The Bolsheviks have not taken a single step or uttered a 
single word that the petty-bourgeois parties can interpret 
as a renunciation of independent action by the Social-Dem- 

While Milyukov was grovelling at Stolypin's feet and 
Mensheviks and Trudoviks of all shades were grovelling at 
Milyukov's feet — the Bolsheviks alone stood firm, never 
for a moment ceasing to do what Levitsky and his like 
have now remembered to do because they have quarrelled 
with the Cadets. 

Therefore, we must not under any circumstances do the 
stupid thing which the dismayed and hypocritical Menshe- 
viks are prattling about; we must not reject a revolutionary 


bloc and petty-bourgeois support for the socialists against 
the Cadets. 

It was because the Bolsheviks took the right course at 
once, without hesitation, that the instability of the Trudo- 
viks and the firmness of the workers' party (except for its 
opportunist appendage, of course) has now become clear 
to all. It has become really clear that the Social-Democratic 
proletariat is going its own independent way, directing 
all the other elements against the Black Hundreds and 
against the liberals, freeing all the petty-bourgeois parties 
and trends from the influence of Cadet ideology and Cadet 
policy, and publicly assessing the degree of reliability 
and suitability of the revolutionary and the opportunist 
groups among the Trudoviks. 

And to be afraid to lead all the Trudoviks now, when 
they have tasted the bitterness of Cadet benevolence and 
are prepared to fight the Cadets, would be unpardonable 
childishness and a manifestation of political spinelessness. 

The thirty-one Mensheviks who have entangled them- 
selves in the bargaining with the Cadets are now compelled 
to admit, in spite of themselves, that "a joint Social-Dem- 
ocratic and Trudovik list will be popular enough to divert 
many votes from the Cadets...". Yes, that is exactly how it is! 
And that is exactly why we cannot neglect the task of un- 
dermining the hegemony of the Cadets in the capital, to- 
wards which the eyes of all Russia are turned. 

If we capture half the Cadet vote in several districts 
plus one extra vote, we shall win, for we shall have all the 
advantage of the split between the Black-Hundred bourgeoi- 
sie and the liberal conciliatory bourgeoisie (there is no 
danger in this, for in nine districts the Cadets have more 
than twice as many votes as the Black Hundreds). 

It is becoming clearer every day that the Mensheviks 
took the wrong political course when they raised an outcry 
about the Black-Hundred danger. It is becoming clear that 
the delegates and electors stand more to the Left this year 
than they did last year. Instead of acting as the ludicrous 
and shameful accomplices of the liberal landlords (which 
cannot be justified by the plea of a Black-Hundred danger, 
for none exists), a useful and responsible role awaits us; 
to exercise the hegemony of the proletariat over the demo- 



cratic petty bourgeoisie in the struggle to prevent subor- 
dination of the unenlightened masses to the leadership of 
the liberals. 

The first elections to the Duma resulted in a Cadet vic- 
tory, and these liberal bourgeois are exerting every effort 
to consolidate and perpetuate a hegemony that rests on 
the stultification of the masses, on their failure to think 
independently and to pursue an independent policy. 

It is our bounden duty to bend every effort to rally 
around ourselves, particularly in St. Petersburg, all those 
who are capable of fighting the Black Hundreds and the 
Cadets — to rally them for the aims of the people's revolu- 
tion, for independent action by the vast masses of the 

And we shall do this without sacrificing an iota of the 
ideological independence of our Social-Democratic agita- 
tion, without retreating in the least from our socialist aims 
but giving them full expression, and without for a moment 
ceasing to expose the vacillation and treachery of the petty 

The revolutionary Social-Democrats alone stand firmly 
and resolutely on the positions of the struggle for freedom 
and the struggle for socialism. 

Written on January 20 
(February 2), 1907 

Published as a separate pamphlet 
in 1907 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according 
to the text of the pamphlet 




The State Duma elections in the City of St. Petersburg 
are to take place shortly. The city voters, who number 
about 130,000, will have to elect 160 electors for the entire 
city. These 160 electors, together with the 14 electors from 
the workers, will elect 6 deputies to the Duma. 

Who should be elected to the Duma? 

Three main parties are contesting the elections in St. 
Petersburg: the Black Hundreds (the Right parties), the 
Cadets (the so-called people's freedom party), and the 

The smaller parties and trends (Trudoviks, non-party 
people, Popular Socialists, radicals, etc.) may join partly 
the Cadet election list, and partly the Social-Democratic 
list. This has not yet been definitely decided. 

At all events, there is no doubt that there will be three 
election lists in St. Petersburg — the Black-Hundred, the 
Cadet, and the Social-Democratic. 

All voters must, therefore, clearly realise whom they 
are sending to the Duma: 

the Black Hundreds, i.e., the Right parties, who are 
for a government based on military courts, for pogroms 
and violence? 

the Cadets, i.e., the liberal bourgeoisie, who go to the 
Duma to legislate, i.e., to compromise with the Gurkos, 
who actually enjoy both the right to legislate and the right 
to dissolve the Duma if it incurs their displeasure? 

or the Social-Democrats, i.e., the party of the working 
class, which, at the head of the whole people, is fighting 



for full freedom and socialism, for the emancipation of all 
working people from exploitation and oppression? 

Let every voter know that he must choose between these 
three parties. He must decide whom to vote for: the cham- 
pions of police tyranny and violence; the liberal capitalists, 
who through the Kutlers are bargaining with Gurkos; 
or for the champions of the interests of the working class 
and of all working people? 

Citizens and voters! You are told that the Cadets and 
the Social-Democrats may enter into an election agreement, 
that they may put up a joint election list. 

This is not true. Let everybody know that whatever hap- 
pens there will be three lists in St. Petersburg: the Black- 
Hundred, the Cadet and the Social-Democratic. 

You are told that if the Cadets and the Social-Demo- 
crats put up separate lists, they may split the vote and 
thus help the Black Hundreds to win. 

This is not true. We are going to prove to you that even 
in the worst possible case of a split vote, i.e., even if the 
votes are evenly divided between the Cadets and the Social- 
Democrats in all election wards of St. Petersburg — even 
in that case a Black-Hundred victory in St. Petersburg is 

It is common knowledge that during the elections to the 
First Duma there were two principal lists of candidates 
in St. Petersburg: the Cadet and the Black-Hundred (or 
the so-called bloc, or coalition, of the Right parties). The 
Cadets were victorious in all the districts of St. Petersburg. 

Now there will be three lists: the Black-Hundred, the 
Cadet and the Social-Democratic. That means that the So- 
cial-Democrats expect to win part of the Cadet votes and 
also to win the support of those who did not vote in the 
elections to the First Duma. 

You are told that this split of the Cadet and Social- 
Democratic vote may help the Black Hundreds to win, for 
the Cadets and the Social-Democrats together would be 
stronger than the Black Hundreds, whereas separately 
they may prove weaker, i.e., be defeated. 

To see whether this is possible, let us take the figures 
of the votes cast in all the wards of St. Petersburg in the 
elections to the First Duma. Let us see how the votes were 

First page of the newspaper Zreniye, No. 1, 1907 



distributed between the Cadets and the Black Hundreds 
in the various wards. We will take the least favourable 
case in each ward, i.e., the lowest vote cast for a Cadet (for 
different candidates received a different number of votes) 
and the highest vote cast for a Black-Hundred candidate. 

We will halve the lowest Cadet vote, on the assumption 
that the Social-Democrat will divert exactly half the votes 
(this is the least favourable to us, and the most favourable 
to the Black Hundreds). 

Let us now compare this half of the lowest Cadet vote 
with the highest vote cast for a Black-Hundred candidate in 
each ward. We will get the following figures: 

Voting in St. Petersburg in the Elections to the First Duma 



Alexander-Nevsky . 




Petersburg .... 





Rozhdestvensky . . 
Vasilyevsky Ostrov . 


One half 




of that 























































These figures show clearly that even in the most unfa- 
vourable case of a split in the Cadet vote, the Black Hun- 
dreds would have been successful in the 1906 elections in 
only three wards out of the twelve. They would have had 
only 46 electors out of 174 (160 from the city and 14 from 
the workers). This means that the Black Hundreds could 
not have been elected to the Duma at the first elections 
even if the Cadet vote had been split equally between the 
Cadet and the Social-Democratic candidates in all wards. 

Thus, those who are trying to scare the voters with the 
possibility of a Black-Hundred victory if the Cadets and 
Social-Democrats split the vote, are deceiving the people. 



The Black Hundreds cannot win as a result of a vote 
split between the Cadets and Social-Democrats. 

The Cadets are deliberately spreading false rumours 
of a "Black-Hundred danger" so as to deter the voters from 
voting for the socialists. 

Citizens and voters! Do not believe the yarns about 
the Black Hundreds winning if the votes are divided be- 
tween the Cadets and Social-Democrats. Vote freely and bold- 
ly according to your convictions — for the Black Hundreds, 
for the bourgeois liberals, or for the socialists. 

* * 

But perhaps the Cadets, who are spreading false rumours 
about a "Black-Hundred danger" through the newspapers 
Rech, Tovarishch, Sevodnya, Rodnaya Zemlya, Rus, Strana, 15 
and many others, will try to advance some other arguments, 
try some other subterfuges. 

Let us consider all possible arguments. 

Perhaps the Cadet vote will be split between three and 
not two lists? In that case will not the Black Hundreds 
win in all the wards and be elected to the Duma? 

No. The Cadet vote cannot be split between three lists, 
for there will be only three lists in St. Petersburg. Apart 
from the Black Hundreds, the Cadets and the Social-Dem- 
ocrats, there is not a single party of any importance that 
is putting up an independent list. 

All parties in Russia have their representatives in St. 
Petersburg. All parties and trends have already announced 
their positions in the elections. Not a single party, except 
for the three main parties mentioned above, not one little 
group, even thinks of contesting the elections independently. 
All the smaller parties, all the trends, except the three main 
ones, are wavering only between these three election lists. 
All progressive parties and groups which sympathise with 
freedom are wavering only between the Cadets and the So- 

Not one of the Trudovik parties, neither the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, the Committee of the Trudovik Group, 
nor the Popular Socialists, has expressed the desire to 
put up an independent list. On the contrary, all these Trudovik 



parties are negotiating to join either the Cadet or the So- 
cial-Democratic list. 

Hence, those who say that the Cadet vote may be split 
between three lists are deceiving the people. In St. Peters- 
burg there will be only three main lists: the Black-Hundred, 
the Cadet, and the Social-Democratic. 

* * 

A second possible argument: it is said that as a result of 
the Senate interpretations 16 the number of voters, especial- 
ly those of the poor classes, has been reduced, and that 
therefore the Cadets may not poll as many votes as they 
did in the elections to the First Duma. 

That is not true. In the First Duma elections the total 
number of voters in St. Petersburg was about 150,000; 
it is now about 130,000. The number who voted last year 
was no more than 60,000 to 70,000. Hence, there is no rea- 
son to fear a change in the temper and views of the bulk of 
the voters. There cannot be the slightest doubt that the 
majority of the 130,000 voters in St. Petersburg belong to 
the needy strata of the population, who might prefer a 
capitalist to a worker only owing to misunderstanding, ig- 
norance or prejudice. If all socialists do their duty and 
carry on agitation to enlighten the city population, they 
will certainly be able to count on winning not ten thousand, 
but several tens of thousands of the 130,000 voters. 

* * 

A third possible argument: it is said that the Black 
Hundreds may get a bigger vote this year, and that we 
cannot judge from last year's figures. 

That is not true. From all the newspaper reports, all 
the meetings and the information available about the state 
of the various parties, we see that the Black Hundreds in 
St. Petersburg are not stronger, but probably much weaker 
than they were last year. The people have become politi- 
cally more conscious; the Octobrists 17 are howled down 
at every meeting; and the dissolution of the Duma, the 



government's policy of violence and the Gurko-Lidval policy 
are completely alienating voters from the government. At 
the first elections the Black Hundreds were still able to 
crow; but they subsided altogether, as soon as election time 
began to draw near. 

* * 

A fourth possible argument: it is said that the govern- 
ment has refused to issue election forms to the Left par- 
ties, is not permitting them to hold meetings, publish 
newspapers, etc., and that, therefore, it is safer and surer 
for all the Lefts to combine in one election list with the 

That is not true. The fact that the government is resort- 
ing to violence, is breaking the law and encroaching on 
the freedom of elections, can only stiffen the backs of the 
mass of voters. We Social-Democrats do not lose, but gain 
in the eyes of the voters from the fact that the police, with 
increasing frequency, are closing down meetings because 
of our speeches. As for fighting the government for its 
breaking the law — how would an agreement with the Ca- 
dets help in this? It would hinder, not help things, for the 
Cadet Party is the most cowardly of all opposition parties, 
the one most given to treachery. Is it possible to combat 
infringement of the law by Cabinet Ministers jointly with a 
party of which the ex-Minister Kutler, a recent colleague 
of Witte and Durnovo, is a member? On the contrary, it 
is because the Kutlers are very much closer to the Durno- 
vos and Stolypins than to the masses of workers and shop- 
assistants that we, in the interests of the fight for freedom, 
must remain independent of the Cadet Party, the party 
of the Kutlers. 

Let us assume that the government has decided to seize, 
to arrest, the Left electors. Will an agreement with the 
Cadets be of any avail? Or should the socialists rely on 
the Cadet Kutler petitioning the Cabinet Ministers Sto- 
lypin and Gurko, his recent colleagues, on behalf of the 

The newspapers recently reported that Stolypin is grant- 
ing an audience to Mr. Milyukov, the Cadet leader, to dis- 



cuss the legalisation of the Cadet Party.* Are the social- 
ists to rely on the Cadet gentlemen "petitioning" for the 
legalisation of the Trudovik, the Socialist-Revolutionary 
and the Social-Democratic parties? 

A socialist with a conscience and a sense of shame will 
never appear in a joint list with the Kutlers and the Mi- 

J * * 


Can the Social-Democrats win in the St. Petersburg 

Taking advantage of the government's ban on Social- 
Democratic newspapers, the Cadet newspapers are dinning 
into their readers' ears that a Social-Democratic victory 
at the elections is inconceivable without the aid of the 

That is not true. It is quite possible for the Social-Dem- 
ocrats in St. Petersburg to gain a victory over the Black 
Hundreds and the Cadets. 

The Cadets pretend not to see this, deliberately forget- 
ting that a split vote may be to the advantage of any party, 
and not the Black Hundreds alone. The Black Hundreds 
may win three wards out of twelve if the vote is split equally 
between the Cadets and Social-Democrats. 

The Social-Democrats may win twelve election wards out 
of twelve if the vote is split between the Cadets and Black 

To convince oneself of this, one need only consider the 
figures quoted above. They show that, by polling in each 
ward one vote more than half the Cadet total (polled at the 
last elections) it is possible to win in the whole of St. Pe- 

For this we must have not less than 14,274 votes in the 
nine "safe" wards of St. Petersburg (which does not include 
the three where the Black Hundreds may win). 

* At an election meeting at the Tenishev School on January 
22 Mr. Vodovozov stated that Mr. Milyukov had been to see Sto- 
lypin and had come to terms with him, and that the people's free- 
dom party is responsible for its leaders. Without denying this fact, 
Mr. Gredeskul declared that if Mr. Milyukov had been to see Stoly- 
pin, it was in the interest of the country and the party. 



And is it really impossible for the Social-Democrats 
to poll 15,000 to 20,000 votes in St. Petersburg? 

In St. Petersburg enfranchised shop-assistants and clerks 
alone number 30,000 to 50,000. Golos Prikazchika, 18 the 
shop-assistants trade union paper, was conducted on So- 
cial-Democratic lines. If all socialists were to unite for 
agitation among shop-assistants, and were to agree to in- 
clude the Trudoviks in their list, these shop and office 
employees alone could ensure victory for a joint Social- 
Democratic and Trudovik election list. 

Moreover, there are a very large number of poor tenants, 
fully capable of understanding that the socialists will de- 
fend their interests better than the liberal houseowners 
and landlords, the rich lawyers and the government officials, 
the Petrunkeviches, Rodichevs, Vinavers, and Kutlers. 

Look at the election meetings in St. Petersburg. Even 
the Cadet newspapers, whose accounts of these meetings 
are atrociously distorted to favour the Cadets, are com- 
pelled to admit that the real contest lies between the Ca- 
dets and the socialists, and not between the Rights and the 
Lefts. St. Petersburg election meetings are incontrovertible 
proof that the Social-Democrats , particularly in alliance 
with the Trudoviks, are stronger than the Cadets in St. 

How many voters will attend election meetings? Cau- 
tious people estimate not more than one-tenth of the total 
number of voters will. Let us accept even this figure, which 
is the lowest estimate. That gives us 13,000 voters. Fur- 
ther, we may take it for granted that every voter who has 
attended meetings will take along with him to the polling- 
booth at least two others who have not attended any meet- 
ings. Judging from all facts and observations, 20,000 of 
the 39,000 voters will be for the Social-Democrats in alli- 
ance with the Trudoviks. 

Therefore, these figures, too, show that a victory of the 
Social-Democrats over the Cadets and the Black Hundreds 
in St. Petersburg is quite possible. 

All St. Petersburg voters should know that it depends 
entirely on them whether the Cadets or the Social-Dem- 
ocrats win. 



* * 

The socialists are conducting their election campaign 
in St. Petersburg primarily and mainly for the purpose of 
enlightening and rallying the masses. The socialists are 
striving to make clear to the masses the tasks now confront- 
ing the people in their struggle for freedom. The liberals, 
however, are not bothering about anything but seats in the 
Duma, and do not care whether the voters have any clear 
and definite ideas. 

The liberals, i.e., the Cadets, and the vacillators who 
follow in their train, sometimes take a vote at election 
meetings, at some of which they succeed in winning over- 
whelming majorities for resolutions calling for an agree- 
ment among all the Lefts, on the understanding that two 
seats out of the six should go to the Cadets. 

Those who propose such resolutions and those who vote 
for them show that they fail to realise the situation in the 
St. Petersburg elections. There will not and cannot be an 
agreement of "all the Lefts" in St. Petersburg. There will 
be three election lists in St. Petersburg: the Black-Hun- 
dred, the Cadet, and the Social-Democratic. 

Moreover, it is ridiculous even to vote for the Cadets 
getting two seats out of the six. Those who really want 
such an outcome must understand that it cannot be effected 
by a deal with the Cadets. It can be done only by voting 
for the Social-Democrats. 

In fact, the result that some people desire (six seats for 
the Lefts, of which two go to the Cadets) can be achieved 
only if the Social-Democrats gain a partial victory 
in St. Petersburg. Let us assume, for example, that the 
Social-Democrats win only in four constituencies, say, 
in the Spassky, Moscow, Petersburg and Vyborg wards. 
They would then have 60 electors, and with the worker 
curia, 74 electors. The Black Hundreds (we take the most 
unfavourable and most unlikely case) will have 46 electors 
(Liteiny, Rozhdestvensky and Vasilyevsky Ostrov wards). 
The Cadets will then have the remaining 54 electors. This 
is the way we could really secure the election of Left Duma 
deputies for St. Petersburg, with a preponderance of those 
standing Left of the Cadets. It cannot be achieved by 



bargaining with the Cadets, as certain unintelligent and 
vacillating people are doing. 

* * 

Let us briefly recapitulate the conclusions we have drawn. 
Only three main parties are contesting the St. Peters- 
burg elections, and electors will have three lists before 
them: the Black-Hundred, the Cadet, and the Social- 

The danger of a Black-Hundred victory in St. Petersburg 
is an absurd fabrication. 

Even if the Cadet vote is split least favourably between 
the Cadets and the Social-Democrats, a Black-Hundred 
victory is impossible. 

The fable of the "Black-Hundred danger" in St. Peters- 
burg is deliberately fostered by the Cadets to avert the 
real danger threatening them in the form of a socialist vic- 

The Trudoviks, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and sev- 
eral small groups have not yet made up their minds whether 
to follow the Cadets or the Social-Democrats. 

In St. Petersburg it is quite possible for the Social- 
Democrats to win complete victory over the Black Hun- 
dreds and the Cadets. 

Voters must vote in accordance with their convictions 
and sympathies, and not out of fear of a fictitious Black- 
Hundred danger. 

Are you for the government, the liberal bourgeoisie, or 
the Social-Democrats? 

Citizens, make your choice! 

Zreniye, No. 1, 
January 25, 1907 

Published according 
to the Zreniye text 



On January 6 a St. Petersburg general conference was 
held. The conference was to decide whether or not there 
were to be agreements in the capital with the Cadets. 

Notwithstanding Plekhanov's appeals to "worker com- 
rades", published in Tovarishch; notwithstanding Madame 
E. Kuskova's hysterical articles; notwithstanding Ple- 
khanov's threat to list the workers among the "enemies of 
freedom" if they insist on maintaining an independent 
Social-Democratic position, and notwithstanding the Ca- 
dets' more or less alluring promises, the organised and 
class-conscious proletariat of St. Petersburg proved so 
politically mature that, after the discussions and the vot- 
ing, the majority declared against agreements of any 
kind with the Cadets. It was clear that the conference, 
elected by organised workers after discussions and voting 
in accordance with platforms,* would declare itself to the 
same effect. 

Space prevents us from dealing in Proletary with the 
proceedings of the conference in detail; besides, consider- 
able literature has been published on this subject. It is 
important to note here, however, that our opportunists 
have gone so far in their policy of bourgeois compromise 
that they cannot accept the conference's decision. It was 
obvious from the very outset of the conference that, sup- 
ported by the Central Committee, the St. Petersburg Men- 
sheviks would not submit to the conference decision. The 

* Except in the Menshevik Vyborg District and Franco-Russian 
Subdistrict, where the platforms were not voted on. 



friends of the Cadets were only seeking for a pretext to 
break with revolutionary social-Democracy. A pretext 
had to be found, no matter what kind it would be. As the 
question of the credentials failed to provide this pretext, 
the Mensheviks took advantage of the recommendation of 
the Central Committee that questions of election tactics 
be decided by the electoral units directly concerned, and 
walked out of the conference on the issue of dividing the 
conference into two parts, one especially for the city and 
one for the suburbs. They wanted to substitute the terri- 
torial administrative units of the police for Party organi- 
sational units. If the Mensheviks' advice had been taken, 
we should not only have had to keep the suburban districts 
out of the conference, but we should also have had to split 
up hitherto integral districts, such as the Neva, Moscow 
and Narva districts, and reorganise the Party to suit the 
authorities, not the Party. 

It was also obvious that, whichever way the question 
of dividing the conference was decided, the majority would 
declare against agreements with the Cadets. The Menshe- 
viks walked out and, to the delight of the entire bourgeois 
press, decided to conduct an independent campaign in St. 
Petersburg, wage a struggle against their own Party com- 
rades, split the St. Petersburg proletariat for the sake of an 
agreement with the bourgeois and monarchist party — the 
"people's freedom" party. 

The bourgeois press has every reason to rejoice! The 
gutter newspaper Sevodnya has solemnly declared in a spe- 
cial leading article that, by taking this decision, the Menshe- 
viks have saved Russia; and Rech, the official organ of the 
Cadets, has promised to reward the Mensheviks by ceding 
one seat in the worker curia to a "Menshevik", but under 
no circumstances to a "Bolshevik". 

The first result of Menshevik independent action is that the 
bourgeoisie has begun to dictate its will to the worker curia. 

Continuing its proceedings after the Mensheviks had 
walked out, the conference decided that, since there is no 
Black-Hundred danger in St. Petersburg, and in order to 
undermine the hegemony of the Cadets and free the 
democratic petty bourgeoisie from their influence, an agree- 
ment should be entered into, on definite terms, with 


the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Trudoviks for the 
distribution of seats (two to the worker curia, two to the 
Social-Democrats, one to the Socialist-Revolutionaries and 
one to the Trudoviks). 

The bourgeois press is jubilant: the Trudoviks and the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries have formed a bloc with the 
Popular Socialists, which is gravitating to the Cadets; 
the Mensheviks have broken away — the Bolsheviks are 
isolated! Revolutionary tactics are condemned, "peaceful 
methods" are triumphant, hurrah for an agreement with 
the monarchy, and down with the method of popular mass 

Having split the Social-Democrats and enfeebled the pro- 
letariat, the hydra of revolution, the Cadets shamelessly 
strike a bargain — with Mr. Stolypin. The newspapers re- 
port that the prime minister has granted Milyukov an 
audience to take place in a day or two, and that the prime 
minister's condition for the legalisation of the Cadet Party 
is — no blocs with the Left. The Cadets are willing to con- 
cede to the entire "Left" — actually, to the petty-bourgeois — 
bloc (the Popular Socialists, Socialist-Revolutionaries, 
Trudoviks, and Mensheviks) only two out of the six seats 
in St. Petersburg. To pacify the gallery the Cadets are 
prepared to throw two seats to the importunate petty- 
bourgeois bloc. As they are certain the Left bloc will not 
accept this, the Cadets are negotiating with Stolypin, the 
head of the Black Hundreds. 

The scene changes. The election campaign begins. Elec- 
tion meetings are being held. The Mensheviks, who very, 
very rarely speak at these meetings, blather timidly about 
agreements with the Cadets. The Bolsheviks, who speak 
at all meetings, call upon proletarians and semi-proletar- 
ians to join a united workers' party — the Social-Democrat- 
ic Party; they call upon all revolutionary and democratic 
voters to form a united revolutionary bloc against the 
Black Hundreds and the Cadets. The Cadets are shouted 
down, while the Bolsheviks are applauded. The democrats 
in the city — the workers and the petty bourgeoisie — are swing- 
ing towards the Left and shaking off the Cadet yoke. 

The scene changes: the "compromisers" are in a tearing 
rage. It is with foaming mouth that they speak of the Bol- 



sheviks. Down with the Bolsheviks! In moving unity No- 
voye Vremya w and Tovarishch, the Octobrists and the Ca- 
dets, the Vodovozovs and the Gromans launch a crusade 
against the red spectre of Bolshevism. If Bolshevism ever 
needed justification for its revolutionary and class tactics, 
it has now found it in the fury with which it is being at- 
tacked by the entire bourgeois press. If the petty-bourgeois 
revolutionary democrats, sincerely striving to carry out 
their slogans, needed an object lesson, they are getting it 
now in the contempt with which they have been treated by 
the big and middle bourgeoisie, in the policy of compro- 
mise (with the government) which the Cadets are pursuing 
behind the backs of the people. 

The revolutionary Social-Democrats say to all democrats 
among the urban and rural poor, only in alliance with the 
proletariat, only by throwing off the tutelage of the Cadets, 
only in a determined and consistent struggle against the 
autocracy will you find salvation. If you are mature enough 
for this, you will follow the proletariat. If not, you will 
remain under the tutelage of the Cadets; and, whatever 
the upshot of the election campaign, whatever the result 
of your bargaining among yourselves for seats, the prole- 
tariat will continue to pursue its own class revolutionary 

Menshevism is now undergoing a severe test. The elec- 
tion campaign has become the corner-stone of its oppor- 
tunist tactics. Part of the Social-Democrats have fallen 
under the hegemony of the bourgeois ideologists. Bourgeois 
ideologists are jeering scathingly at the Mensheviks, whom 
they call "moderate socialists" (the term Rech uses), who 
can always be depended on. Their friends from the Right 
do not take them into consideration ... they only count 
on the loyal service to the Cadets. A section of Social- 
Democrats have sunk so low that the liberal bourgeoisie 
regard them merely as subservient tools, and the revolu- 
tionary-minded proletariat prefers to vote for the Social- 
ist-Revolutionaries (as was the case in the elections of 
delegates in the Menshevik stronghold — the Vyborg 
District) rather than vote for such Social-Democrats. 

The crisis of opportunism is approaching. Menshevism 
is being dealt a decisive blow by the agreement with the 


"compromisers". The Vasilyevs, Malishevskys and Larins 
have paved the way to ... the cemetery. Confusion and mu- 
tual expulsion reign in the ranks of the Mensheviks. Martov 
is expelling the Vasilyevs and the Malishevskys from the 
Party. Let the workers expel the very spirit of Menshevism 
from the Party! 

Proletary, No. 12, 
January 25, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 



The elections of workers' delegates are an extremely im- 
portant event in the political life of Russia and in the his- 
tory of our labour movement, an event that has not yet 
been properly appreciated. 

For the first time all parties with any standing among 
the proletariat have come before the masses of the workers, 
not with general programmes or slogans, but with a definite 
practical question: to the candidates of which party will 
the masses of the workers entrust the defence of their in- 
terests? As everyone knows, the system of elections in the 
worker curia is, of course, far removed from proper demo- 
cratic representation. Nevertheless, the masses of the work- 
ers are making themselves heard in the elections. And the 
broad masses of the workers are witnessing a struggle be- 
tween parties, that is, between definite political parties, 
for the first time in Russia. 

Elections of workers' delegates have already taken place 
in many parts of the country; but nothing like complete 
and exact information on the struggle of the parties in 
these elections is as yet available. The newspapers give 
only the most general, approximate, and superficial con- 
clusions. Unless our Party officials, and especially the ad- 
vanced workers themselves, undertake the necessary and 
extremely important task of studying the course and the 
results of the elections in the worker curia, we can defi- 
nitely say that we shall lose extremely valuable and neces- 
sary material for the future development of Party work 
and Party agitation. 



The general impression produced by the elections in the 
worker curia in Russia is unanimously summed up by all 
newspapers as follows: complete victory for the extreme 
Lefts, primarily the Social-Democrats, the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries coming second. 

The elections have fully borne out the fundamental 
thesis of Social-Democracy: as a class, the proletariat is 
revolutionary. The proletarian masses are Social-Demo- 
cratic in their aspirations and sympathies. The proletariat 
is the most revolutionary class in Russia. 

All the talk about the Social-Democratic Party in Rus- 
sia not being a workers' party has in fact been refuted by 
the elections. Only liberals who are deliberately lying, 
or opportunists who indulge in idle words can now doubt 
the mass proletarian character of the Social-Democratic 
Party in Russia. 

Before passing from general to particular conclu- 
sions, we must make the reservation that nothing like com- 
plete data is yet available. However, we consider it not only 
possible, but absolutely necessary to suggest a number 
of further conclusions, not with the idea of claiming to 
have exhausted the question, but for the purpose of submit- 
ting it, as a question of vast importance, for the considera- 
tion of all comrades, evoking an exchange of ideas, the 
collection of material, etc. 

The striking thing revealed by the first newspaper re- 
ports is the difference between Russia proper and Poland, 
which is much more advanced economically, culturally and 
politically. In Russia, in St. Petersburg and Moscow, at 
any rate, there are no frankly bourgeois parties that enjoy 
even limited support among the proletariat. The Social- 
Democrats preponderate absolutely; considerably less in- 
fluence is exercised by extreme Left bourgeois democrats 
who regard themselves as socialists, namely, the Socialist- 
Revolutionary Party. There are no Cadets among the 
workers, or at any rate, a very insignificant number of them. 

In Poland there is a frankly bourgeois party that stands 
to the Right of the Cadets, and has played a conspicuous 
part in the elections — the Narodowci (Narodowi-Demokraci — 
National-Democrats). 20 This fact cannot be attributed to 
police and military persecution. The Polish bourgeoisie, 



which skilfully plays upon the national oppression of all 
Poles and the religious persecution of all Catholics, seeks 
and finds some support among the masses, and, of course, 
among the Polish peasantry. 

It is, however, self-evident that it would be absurd to 
deduce from this difference that there is some exceptional 
advantage intrinsic in Russian backwardness. This is not 
the case. The explanation is much simpler: it is due to 
historical and economic, and not to national, differences. 
There are in Russia immeasurably more survivals of serf- 
dom among the masses of the people, in the rural dis- 
tricts, in the agrarian system — hence the more primitive, 
more direct revolutionary sentiments among the peasantry 
and among the working class, which is closely connected 
with the peasantry. This revolutionary sentiment undoubt- 
edly expresses a general democratic (which in essence means 
bourgeois-democratic) protest, rather than proletarian class- 
consciousness. And then, our bourgeoisie is less developed, 
less class-conscious, less skilled in political struggle. It 
neglects activities among the proletariat not so much be- 
cause it could not win a certain section away from us, 
but because it stands in less need of popular support (than 
in Europe and Poland). For the time being, it can rely on 
privilege, bribery, and brute force. The time will come, 
however, when in this country, too, all sorts of people of 
bourgeois origin will preach such abominations as nation- 
alism, something in the nature of Christian democracy, 
anti-Semitism and so on, to the masses of the workers. 

Let us now pass on to Russia proper. First of all, there 
is the noteworthy difference between St. Petersburg and 
Moscow. In Moscow the Social-Democrats gained a complete 
victory over the Socialist-Revolutionaries. According to 
some reports, not yet fully verified it is true, about 200 
Social-Democratic delegates were elected, as against a 
mere 20 Socialist-Revolutionary delegates! 

In St. Petersburg the reverse is the case: everyone is 
astonished at the unexpectedly high percentage of Social- 
ist-Revolutionary delegates. Of course, the Social-Demo- 
crats predominate over the Socialist-Revolutionaries, but 
not overwhelmingly. The proportion of Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries is estimated at 33 per cent or even (though this 



is hardly correct) at 40 per cent. Whichever figure we take 
for the time being until the detailed returns are available, 
we can understand why rank-and-file Social-Democrats in 
St. Petersburg feel that they have been beaten in the worker 
curia. Even if one-third of the delegates are Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, that is actually a defeat for the Social- 
Democrats in the capital — a defeat in comparison with what 
we have seen in the rest of Russia, and with what all of 
us, as Social-Democrats, regard as normal and essential. 

This is a fact of tremendous importance.... In St. Pe- 
tersburg the extreme Left bourgeois democrats deprived 
the socialists of their overwhelming preponderance in the 
worker curia. It is our duty to give this fact the closest at- 
tention. All Social-Democrats must set to work to study this 
phenomenon carefully and find the correct explanation for it. 

The general impression of the St. Petersburg Social- 
Democrats, who are amazed by the results of the elections 
of January 7 and 14, can be summed up as follows: (1) it 
was at the biggest factories, the strongholds of the most 
class-conscious, the most revolutionary proletariat, that 
Socialist-Revolutionaries inflicted the most telling de- 
feat on the Social-Democrats; (2) the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries defeated mostly and in the main the Menshevik 
Social-Democrats . Where a Socialist-Revolutionary can- 
didate opposed a Bolshevik Social-Democratic candidate, 
the Social-Democrats were far more often, in most cases in 
fact, victorious. 

The supreme significance of both these conclusions is 
obvious. We must therefore take good care that these are 
not mere impressions but conclusions drawn from exact and 
verified data that can leave no room for two interpretations. 
It is, of course, extremely unlikely, almost impossible 
even, that the consensus of opinion of active Social-Demo- 
crats in the most diverse districts of St. Petersburg is mis- 
taken. Of course, it would be ridiculous pedantry to ex- 
pect revolutionaries who are at present overwhelmed with 
election work to compile exact and accurate statistics; 
nevertheless, the principal data, the main facts and figures 
can and must be collected, for they will be essential in 
all our Social-Democratic work in St. Petersburg for a long 
time to come. 



Below we deal with this question in greater detail (see 
the article: "The Struggle Between the Social-Democrats 
and the Socialist-Revolutionaries in the Elections in the 
Worker Curia in St. Petersburg"). We shall here confine 
ourselves to an appraisal of the political significance of 
this relative defeat of Social-Democracy at the elections 
in the St. Petersburg worker curia. 

First of all, it must be noted that the numerical pre- 
ponderance of Social-Democratic delegates is obviously an 
indication of the greater number of factories in which the 
Social-Democrats have organisational groups. More detailed 
information will probably confirm what the Social-Demo- 
crats observed in the days of freedom in October, namely, 
that the Socialist-Revolutionaries carry on no effective, 
prolonged and serious organisational work among the pro- 
letariat, but just grab at any opportunity that may crop 
up and push resolutions through at meetings when feeling 
runs high, taking advantage of any moment of excitement 
to win votes through frothy and flashy "revolutionary" 
phrases and speeches. 

This element of the Socialist-Revolutionary victory will, 
in all probability, be noted by every conscientious inves- 
tigator as a feature of the recent elections in the worker 
curia in St. Petersburg. The whole point here, in the final 
analysis, is that a "revolutionary" petty-bourgeois party 
is incapable of steady and consistent proletarian activi- 
ties; at the slightest change in the workers' temper, it com- 
pletely disappears from the working-class suburbs. Only 
at certain moments is it able to exploit the as yet insufficient 
political education of the masses, "captivating" them with 
their ostensibly broad presentation of questions (actually 
nebulous, intellectualist flummery), playing on their un- 
developed class-consciousness, demagogically utilising the 
traditional "back-to-the-land" urge in cases where rural 
connections still exist, and so on and so forth. 

Naturally, the bourgeois character of the revolution 
leads to the working-class districts being "raided" from 
time to time by hordes of radical and truly revolutionary 
bourgeois youths who have no class backing and who, when- 
ever there are signs of a new upsurge or a new onslaught 
of the revolution, turn instinctively to the proletariat as 



the only mass that is engaged in a serious fight for freedom. 
Socialist-Revolutionary speakers at workers' meetings are 
a kind of stormy petrel indicating that the proletariat is 
in fine fettle, has recuperated somewhat, and is regaining 
strength after former defeats, that something is beginning 
to ferment among proletarians, something deep and wide- 
spread, which will make them grapple again with the old order. 

A comparison of the October and "Duma" periods with 
that of the present elections, and a simple statistical as- 
sessment of the number of permanent Socialist-Revolu- 
tionary organisational groups would undoubtedly show 
the truth of this explanation. 

But it would, of course, be very foolish to confine ourselves 
to this explanation, and shut our eyes to the fact that it 
was at the largest factories, where the workers are most 
class-conscious and experienced in battle, that the Social- 
ist-Revolutionaries defeated the Social-Democrats. For- 
tunately, we already know that, in fact, the extreme Left 
bourgeois democrats defeated not Social-Democracy, but 
the opportunist vulgarisation of Social-Democracy. 

The revolutionary bourgeois democrats shirked battle 
with revolutionary Social-Democrats and, in fact, defeated on- 
ly those who trail along in the wake of the non-revolution- 
ary bourgeoisie, those who advocate blocs with the Cadets. This 
is most clearly corroborated by the evidence of Social- 
Democratic Party workers on the character of the speeches 
delivered by the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and by facts on 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries' "victory" over the Mensheviks. 

The St. Petersburg elections took place on January 7 
and 14. On January 7 the workers of St. Petersburg learned 
that the thirty-one Mensheviks had broken away from the 
Social-Democratic Conference in order to bargain with the 
Cadets for seats in the Duma. For the whole following week 
the St. Petersburg bourgeois press exulted and rejoiced, 
praising the Mensheviks, inviting them to be seated next 
to the Cadets, and applauding their renunciation of the 
revolution, their joining the "opposition bloc", "the mod- 
erate-socialist parties", etc., etc. 

The rout of the Mensheviks in the big factories is the first 
warning the proletarian masses have given the vacillating 
opportunist intellectuals! 



The Mensheviks have turned towards the Cadets — the 
proletariat of St. Petersburg have turned away from the 

The Socialist-Revolutionaries took advantage of the 
split among the Social-Democrats, took advantage of the 
workers' indignation at the Cadet-like Mensheviks, and did 
so with brazen alacrity. In the working-class suburbs they 
attacked the Social-Democrats for forming blocs with the 
Cadets (without saying anything about the Bolsheviks and 
the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.), but 
in the city they themselves were bargaining with the Cadetsl 
It is now clear why they have been so carefully concealing 
from the public their views and their resolutions on blocs 
with the Cadets, and their blocs with the Popular Socialists, 
and so on and so forth.* They commit all the sins of Men- 
shevism clandestinely , but when they confront the workers 
they reap applause and win votes by castigating Menshevism. 

The organiser of the Semyannikov Subdistrict League 
of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, whose 
report we quote below, writes in that report on the 
elections, at the huge Semyannikov Works, as follows: 
despite the Bolsheviks' protests, the Mensheviks nominated 
Comrade X. 21 "At an election meeting at the works, a 
Socialist-Revolutionary intellectual spoke and severely 
criticised Comrade X's Menshevik arguments in favour of 
an agreement with the Cadets, and, as the workers said, 
Comrade X 'was in the soup'." In the eyes of the masses 
the defeat of the Mensheviks was complete. "When the 
masses learned," we read in the same report, "that the So- 
cial-Democratic candidates were in favour of an agreement 
with the Cadets and that those candidates were Menshe- 
viks, they said then and there [at the works] that they would 
not vote for the Mensheviks." 

This makes it quite clear why, during the election of 
delegates for the Social-Democratic conference, the Menshe- 
viks were opposed to voting in accordance with platforms, 
i.e., were opposed to a direct vote of the masses themselves 
on the question of blocs with the Cadets! 

* They published the resolution of their St. Petersburg Commit- 
tee after the elections in the worker curia. 



"At the Nevsky Stearin Works, in the Menshevik factory subdis- 
trict, a worker, N. M., who had been nominated as a delegate, de- 
clared bluntly: 'Now that I have heard that the Social-Democrats are in 
favour of an agreement with the Cadets, I am going over to the So- 
cialist-Revolutionaries.' And he did go over, and was elected delegate!!" 

Such is the shameful state to which Social-Democracy 
has been brought by these miserable opportunists, who are 
capable of breaking away from the workers' party on the 
eve of the elections, in order to haggle with the Cadets for 

The only conclusion to be drawn from this by a Social- 
Democrat who values the honour and good name of the 
proletarian party is that ruthless war must be waged on 
Menshevism in St. Petersburg. We must open the eyes of 
the workers to the people whose Cadet policy is driving 
the workers away from socialism and towards the revolu- 
tionary bourgeoisie. 

The Socialist-Revolutionaries have captured the biggest 
factories from the Mensheviks. We must recapture them 
from the Socialist-Revolutionaries. We must send new 
agitators and fresh revolutionary Social-Democratic liter- 
ature to the biggest factories and explain to the workers 
that they have fallen out of the hands of the Cadet-loving 
Mensheviks into the hands of Cadet-loving Socialist-Revo- 

The whole course of the St. Petersburg election campaign, 
all the facts of the endless vacillations of the Mensheviks, 
of their efforts to enter a counter-revolutionary bloc with 
the Cadets (after they broke away from the workers' party), 
and of their bargaining, jointly with the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries, with the Cadets for seats, give us a wealth of 
ammunition with which to fight both the Mensheviks 
and the Socialist-Revolutionaries at the big factories in 
St. Petersburg. 

The big factories must and will become strongholds of 
revolutionary Social-Democracy, inaccessible to oppor- 
tunists and petty-bourgeois revolutionaries alike. 

Prostiye Rechi, No. 3, 
January 30, 1907 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according 
to the text in Prostiye Rechi 




The important success achieved by the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries in the elections in the worker curia has evoked 
despondency in many Social-Democrats. But it is a fact of 
the greatest significance, revealing the serious mistake made 
by the Social-Democrats and therefore deserving thorough 
investigation. We must not give way to despondency and 
distress, but study the recent elections to get at the causes 
of our comparative reverse and ensure the proper organisation 
of Social-Democratic activities among the workers in 

Excellent material for a study of the elections of worker 
delegates is provided by the "Report of the Semyannikov 
Subdistrict League of the Neva District", St. Petersburg 
Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, 
which covers the period from November 15, 1906 to Janu- 
ary 15, 1907. 

We will not quote this Report in full, but cite only the 
exact figures on the struggle of the Menshevik and Bol- 
shevik Social-Democrats against the Socialist-Revolution- 
aries in the election of delegates in twenty-three factories 
in one of the largest (and historically one of the most 
important) working-class suburbs of St. Petersburg. 

We give these figures separately for each factory, so 
that every competent Party official can verify and correct 
our data, and we indicate where the candidates were Bol- 
sheviks and where they were Mensheviks. The biggest fac- 



tories, i.e., those which elected more than one delegate, 
are italicised. 

Number of delegates elected 

Factories where Bolshevik candidates 

TTrpyip n ovn i natpn 

VV CP I C 11 \J 1111 11 CX LCU 


S VTYI Tl 3 - 



Russo-American Engineering Works 





Off pti Via pTi py 





Railway Sleeper Impregnation 











Alexandrovsky Railway Car Shops 



Total for 12 factories 




Factories where Menshevik candidates 
were nominated 

Semyannikov Works . 







Nevsky Stearin Works 



Playing-Card Factory 

Number of delegates elected 

S.D. sympa- S.R. 

one (unspecified) 

Total for 11 factories 6 - 12 

and one (unspecified) 

Total for 23 factories 17 1 14 

and one (unspecified) 

These figures show first of all that, on the whole, the So- 
cial-Democrats have defeated the Socialist-Revolutionaries. 
The Social-Democrats secured the election of 18 delegates 



(if we include the Social-Democratic sympathiser among 
the Social-Democrats), while only 14 Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries were elected. 

Further, these figures show: (1) that at the largest fac- 
tories, the Socialist-Revolutionaries were, on the whole, 
victorious; (2) that, in general, the Socialist-Revolution- 
aries defeated the Menshevik Social-Democrats; (3) that, 
on the whole, the Bolshevik Social-Democrats defeated the 

Indeed, if we take the four biggest factories, i.e., those 
which elected more than one delegate each, we get the 
following: total number of delegates elected (i.e., by 14,000 
workers) — 14, of whom 11 were Socialist-Revolutionaries 
and three Social-Democrats . At the other 18 smaller facto- 
ries, 15 Social-Democrats and 3 Socialist-Revolutionaries 
were elected. We have no information as to the total num- 
ber of workers at these factories; it may exceed 18,000, for 
factories employing less than 2,000 workers elect only one 
delegate; but it may also be less than 18,000, since all 
factories employing 50 or more workers elect one delegate 

Consequently, our general conclusion on the victory of 
the Social-Democrats over the Socialist-Revolutionaries 
in the Neva District must be revised: at the biggest fac- 
tories the Socialist-Revolutionaries defeated the Social- 
Democrats. Figures on the number of delegates elected are 
not sufficient to enable us to draw a precise conclusion: 
we must have the figures for each factory; and, moreover, 
we must have data on the number of workers employed and 
the number that voted at each of them. 

Further, the facts quoted above clearly show that the 
Mensheviks are entirely to blame for the victory of the So- 
cialist-Revolutionaries. The Mensheviks lost 12 seats to 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries, 12 out of 18, whereas the 
Bolsheviks lost only 2 (out of 14). 

At the Bolshevik factories (counting as Bolshevik, not 
merely those where Bolsheviks are, in general, employed, 
but where Bolshevik candidates were put up in opposition 
to the Socialist-Revolutionaries), the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries were undoubtedly routed, in particular at the 
largest factory, Pahl's, where the Bolsheviks secured the 



election of two delegates out of three. Since we have no 
information as to where the Socialist-Revolutionaries put 
up candidates, and, consequently, it is very probable that 
they were defeated at the Russo-American Engineering 
Works, at the Alexandrovsky Railway Car Shops, the At- 
las Works, etc., the conclusion to be drawn is that, on the 
whole, the Bolsheviks defeated the Socialist-Revolutionaries. 

At the Menshevik factories, on the contrary, the Social- 
Democrats were defeated: the Socialist-Revolutionaries 
won 12 seats, the Social-Democrats only 6. There is no 
doubt that, in the eyes of the proletarian masses, the Social- 
ist-Revolutionaries are on the whole defeating the Mensheviks. 

We do not know exactly how far the conclusions drawn 
from the facts about the Neva District can be applied to the 
whole of St. Petersburg. However, judging by the fact that 
"all Social-Democratic St. Petersburg" is talking about 
the unexpected victories of the Socialist-Revolutionaries 
at the big factories, and that the total number of Social- 
Democratic delegates is evidently very much larger than 
that of the Socialist-Revolutionary delegates, we may take 
it that the facts about the Neva District are more or less 
typical. It is reported that at the Baltic Works in the Va- 
silyevsky Ostrov District, which is a Menshevik stronghold, 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries defeated the Mensheviks 
by an enormous majority: they obtained as many as 1,600 
votes, and the Mensheviks less than 100. On the other 
hand, at the big Tubing Works in the same district, the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries also got about 1,600 votes, but 
the Bolsheviks got about 1,500. Here, one of the ballot 
boxes was broken, and the Bolsheviks have challenged 
the elections; they have declared them irregular, and have 
demanded their annulment. Or take another report. At the 
Franco-Russian Works, from which the swaggering Men- 
shevik intellectuals "brought" 370 exclusively Menshevik votes 
to the St. Petersburg Social-Democratic Conference, a 
Bolshevik and a Socialist-Revolutionary were elected dele- 
gates. In the Vyborg District, that Menshevik stronghold, 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries defeated the Menshevik So- 
cial-Democrats, and so on and so forth. 

To be able to verify all these reports and obtain exact 
data, it is absolutely necessary immediately , while the elec- 



tions are still fresh in our minds, to collect particu- 
lars about all factories which elected delegates. Local 
Social-Democratic Party officials can easily collect and 
record the figures for each particular factory. A summary 
of these figures is essential to us Social-Democrats, to enable 
us conscientiously to examine the results of the elections 
so as not to gloss cravenly over our mistakes and short- 
comings, but subject them to Party criticism and exert 
all our efforts to eliminate them. 

We cannot conduct consistent Social-Democratic work 
in St. Petersburg unless we pay close attention to the way 
in which the masses of the workers have voted for the can- 
didates of the various parties. For the bourgeois parties it 
is important only to win so many seats. For us it is impor- 
tant for the masses themselves to understand the tenets 
and tactics of Social-Democracy as distinct from all petty- 
bourgeois parties, even though they may call themselves 
revolutionary, socialist parties. We must therefore strive 
to obtain exact and complete data on the voting at the 
elections in the St. Petersburg worker curia. 

We therefore earnestly appeal to all local district and 
subdistrict Social-Democratic officials in St. Petersburg 
to furnish us with exact data on the following: (1) district; 
(2) name of factory; (3) number of workers employed; (4) 
number of persons who voted; (5) the political trend repre- 
sented by the contending candidates: Socialist-Revolu- 
tionary, Bolshevik, Menshevik, or other parties; (6) number 
of votes cast for each candidate. A summary of this data will 
serve as a solid basis on which to judge the various aspects 
of Social-Democratic work and our possible gains or losses 
in the next elections. 

Prostiye Rechi, No. 3, 
January 30, 1907 

Published according 
to the text in Prostiye Rechi 




Long ago, revolutionary Social-Democrats pointed out 
that the fables about the Black-Hundred danger have been 
deliberately invented and circulated by the Cadets to stave 
off the danger from the Left. 

No attention was paid to the Social-Democrats. The 
liberal press has been howling in chorus about the Black- 
Hundred danger. The petty-bourgeois radicals, the Na- 
rodniks, 22 naively copied the liberals. The opportunist 
Social-Democrats also fell into line with the liberals, and 
in some cases (e.g., in St. Petersburg) stooped to downright 
blacklegging against the proletariat. 

But what do the elections show? 

Everyone now sees that there has been a leftward swing 
in the mood of the voters. The Black Hundreds have suf- 
fered a much heavier defeat at the elections than they did 
last year. The revolutionary Social-Democrats have proved 
to be right. The Black-Hundred danger in the elections 
is a fable circulated by the Cadets, who are bargaining 
with Stolypin behind the backs of the people. It is well 
known that in St. Petersburg Mr. Vodovozov, who last 
year voted for the Cadets, has now renounced them, and 
has publicly exposed Milyukov's visit to Stolypin. Milyu- 
kov has had to admit the fact. But he is still concealing 
from the people the terms on which Stolypin is prepared 
to legalise the Cadets! 

In their newspapers the Cadets are now straining every 
nerve to convince Stolypin of their moderation, their mo- 
desty, their loyalty, their independence of the "Lefts" 
and their readiness to fight them. 



An advantageous and convenient policy, is it not? To 
curry favour with Stolypin and his friends, i.e., the Black 
Hundreds, by renouncing the Lefts, by fighting the Lefts 
in the press, at meetings, in the elections. And to curry 
favour with the Lefts, or rather, with simpletons and black- 
legs among the Lefts, by vociferating about the Black- 
Hundred danger, with the call: Vote for the Cadets so as 
not to split the vote! 

That is exactly the policy the Cadets have pursued in 
Moscow. On the very day of the elections, Mr. Kokoshkin, 
former member of the Duma and one of the most prominent 
Cadets, wrote in Russkiye Vedomosti 23 : 

"It Is obvious to everyone that the Left bloc cannot win the 
votes of those non-party elements who are vacillating between the Oc- 
tobrists and the Cadets; it cannot capture a single vote from the Union 
of October Seventeenth. But it can capture votes from the people's 
freedom party, and thereby contribute to the triumph of reaction, and 
this will be the only practical result of its activities, if successful." 

Mr. Kokoshkin wrote that in the morning of election 
day. And the elections showed that Mr. Kokoshkin was 
telling a foul lie. The result of the Left bloc's activities 
showed that it was impossible for the Rights to have 
achieved a triumph in Moscow, no matter how many 
votes we captured from the Cadetsl 

The Moscow elections have proved that the fable about 
the Black-Hundred danger is a Cadet lie, which can hence- 
forth be repeated only by deliberate blacklegs among 
the Lefts. 

Take the votes, district by district. We give them in 
full in this issue in our article "Preliminary Returns of 
the Moscow Elections". These figures show that in 14 dis- 
tricts out of 16* the votes polled by the Octobrists were 
less than half the combined Cadet and Left vote. Conse- 
quently, in 14 districts the Lefts could not, by their inde- 
pendent action, "contribute to the triumph of reaction'. 

Mr. Kokoshkin lied, slandered the Left bloc, when he 
called it an abettor of reaction! 

* There are 17 election wards in Moscow. Complete figures for 
the Pyatnitsky (17th) District are not yet available. Here the Ca- 
dets obtained at least 1,488 votes, the Octobrists, probably about 
600, and the Left bloc, probably about 250. 



Mr. Kokoshkin tried to scare the voters with his false- 
hood about the Black-Hundred danger, in order to deter them 
from voting for the Left bloc. 

Mr. Kokoshkin, like the St. Petersburg Cadets, is afraid 
to put the real issue even before voters with property qual- 
ification; he is afraid to ask even them whether, on prin- 
ciple, the voters sympathise with a party that parleys 
with Stolypin, or with the Social-Democrats and the Tru- 
doviks. The Kokoshkins, like the St. Petersburg Cadets, 
are not speculating on the intelligence of the voters, but 
on the terror of the petty bourgeois, who is hypnotised by 
the wailing of the servile liberal press about the Black- 
Hundred danger. 

And the Moscow elections were indeed elections by ter- 
tified petty bourgeois. Here is confirmation of this from a 
source that surely no one will suspect of sympathy with 
the "Bolsheviks". 

Birzheviye Vedomosti 24 of January 29 published a report 
from its special correspondent on how "Moscow Is Electing 
Electors". This is what this correspondent writes: 

"After leaving the line, the voters withdraw a good distance away 
and compare notes. 

'"Well, I suppose you voted for Gringmut,' a contractor asks 
one of his foremen. 

"'Oh, no, Sergei Petrovich, we are for the Cadets,' answers the 
foreman, a tubby little fellow. 

'"Why not for the Left bloc?' inquires the contractor. 

'"Too risky, that would split the vote,' answers the foreman." 

So that is why the mass of ordinary townspeople voted 
for the Cadets in Moscow! The ordinary townsman voted 
against the Lefts not because he felt any antipathy against 
them, but because it was "too risky, that would split the 
vote," i.e., because he believed the Cadet liars, who took 
advantage of their monopoly of the liberal daily press to 
fool the ordinary townsman. 

The elections of January 28 in Moscow show that four 
election lists could not split the vote in such a way as to 
create the danger of a Black-Hundred victory] 

In Moscow the Cadets hoodwinked the frightened towns- 
people. The St. Petersburg voters should know of this; 



they must not let themselves be caught a second time by the 
Cadets, who are bargaining with Stolypin! 

We also draw the attention of our readers to a compar- 
ison of the figures (for 9 districts of Moscow — unfortu- 
nately fuller information is unavailable) for 1906 and 1907. 
It is common knowledge that all Cadet henchmen and 
blacklegs among the Lefts are clamouring about the Senate 
interpretations as proof that the 1906 figures are nothing 
to go by, that we must expect something worse in the 1907 
elections, and that there is now a Black-Hundred danger. 

But what has Moscow proved? In 1906, in 9 districts, 
13,220 votes were cast for the Cadets, 5,669 for the Rights 
(Octobrists) plus 690 (for the monarchists), in all 6,359 
(perhaps even somewhat more, for, as can be seen from the 
figures we quote, there are no returns for the monarchist 
vote in several of these 9 districts). 

In 1907, in the same districts, 14,133 votes were cast 
against the Black Hundreds (11,451 for the Cadets and 2,682 
for the Lefts), while 5,902 votes were cast for the Black 
Hundreds (4,412 for the Octobrists and 1,490 for the 

Thus, despite the Senate interpretations, the total vote 
in 1907 is even slightly higher than it was in 1906 (20,025 
as compared with 19,579). The anti-Black-Hundred vote 
is higher than in 1906 (14,133 as compared with 13,220); 
the Black-Hundred vote is lower than in 1906 (5,902 as 
compared with 6,359). 

The facts from Moscow prove that the 1906 figures can 
be taken for comparison, for the 1907 figures show an im- 

And what do the St. Petersburg figures for 1906 show? 
They show that in 9 districts electing 114 electors, the 
highest Black-Hundred vote in 1906 was less than half of 
the lowest Cadet vote* 

Thus, a split in the anti-Black-Hundred vote between 
the Cadets and the Lefts cannot result in a victory for the 
Rights in St. Petersburg. 

* The figures are given in full in Zreniye, No. 1. (See p. 49 of 
this volume. — Ed.) We are reproducing them in this issue to make 
them known to all St. Petersburg voters. 



Even the elections of electors by urban voters in St. Pe- 
tersburg Uyezd,* which took place on January 29, show 
that the Black-Hundred danger is a Cadet falsehood. Even 
among these voters, who had the greatest difficulty in ob- 
taining voting forms and going to the polling-booth, the 
Black Hundreds got so few votes that they could not have 
won, no matter how the vote was split. The Cadets received 
at least 1,099 votes, the Social-Democrats 603, the Octo- 
brists 652, and the Union of the Russian People 25 20. The 
Rights could not have been elected, no matter how many 
votes we captured from the Cadets! We therefore declare 
most emphatically that those people in St. Petersburg 
who are now calling upon the electorate to vote for the Ca- 
dets, to refrain from splitting the vote because of the Black- 
Hundred danger, are deliberately lying and deceiving the 
voters. Those who are not participating in the elections 
in St. Petersburg, even in a single ward, because of the 
Black-Hundred danger, are deliberately lying and deceiving 
the voters to cover up their blacklegging against the Left 

In St. Petersburg, as in Moscow, there is no Black-Hun- 
dred danger, but there is a Cadet danger. There is the danger 
that the ignorant and terrified petty bourgeois will vote 
for the Cadets, not out of any antipathy against the Left 
bloc, towards the Social-Democrats and the Trudoviks, 
but out of fear of splitting the vote, a fear inspired by the 
lies of the Cadet press. 

All those who want intelligent voting in St. Petersburg 
must combat this "danger". 

There is no Black-Hundred danger in St. Petersburg, 
there is only a Cadet danger. Therefore it will be unpardon- 
able blacklegging against the Lefts to abstain from voting 
in those three districts (Vasilyevsky Ostrov, Rozhdestvensky 
and Liteiny) where (judging by the 1906 figures) a victory 
of the Black Hundreds is possible if the vote is split. These 
three districts elect 46 electors out of the total of 174 (160 
for the urban, 14 for the worker curia). Consequently, 
these districts cannot affect the result of the elections. But 
they may greatly affect the victory of the Lefts or the 

See footnote to p. 18. — Ed. 



Cadets. Let us assume that the Social-Democrats and the Tru- 
doviks are successful in four districts: Spassky, Moscow, 
Petersburg and Vyborg (we have taken these districts at 
random). The Lefts will then have 74 electors (60 from the 
city and 14 from the workers). If the Cadets are successful 
in all the other districts, they will have 100 electors and 
get all their candidates into the Dumal If, however, the 
Black Hundreds are elected in the three districts mentioned 
above (46 electors), the Cadets will have only 54, and they 
will be obliged to combine with the Lefts and get two seats 
out of the six in the Duma. 

That means that whoever abstains from voting in the 
three "Black-Hundred" districts of St. Petersburg is secretly 
helping the Cadets and is blacklegging against the Left 

Citizens and voters! Give no credence to the deceivers 
who talk to you about the danger of splitting the vote in St. 
Petersburg. Give no credence to their false tales of a Black- 
Hundred danger in St. Petersburg. 

There is no Black-Hundred danger in St. Petersburg. 
The Rights cannot win in St. Petersburg as a result of a 
division of the votes between Cadets and Lefts. 

Do not vote out of fear of a "danger" invented by the 
Cadet liars (who run to Stolypin by the back door); vote 
as your conscience and your convictions guide you. 

Will you vote for the liberal bourgeoisie, who want to 
saddle the peasants with ruinous land-compensation pay- 
ments, betray the peasants into the hands of the liberal 
landlords, and are secretly bargaining with Stolypin and 
carrying on negotiations with the Black Hundreds? 

Or will you vote for the Social-Democratic Labour Party, 
for the party of the proletariat supported by all Trudovik 

Citizens, vote for the Left bloc! 

Zreniye, No. 2, 
February 4, 1907 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according 
to the Zreniye text 



The liberal newspapers and those serving the liberals 
are still vociferating about the Black-Hundred danger in 
Moscow and St. Petersburg. 

To show how utterly false these outcries and phrases 
are, we give here tables of the results of the Moscow 
elections so far published in the St. Petersburg press. 

For the purpose of comparison we also quote from the 
newspaper Nasha Zhizn 26 for March 28, 1906, the results 
of the 1906 elections in Moscow. 

The significance of the figures for the two years, which 
prove and prove again how utterly false are the fables about 
the "Black-Hundred danger", is dealt with elsewhere. 

Number of votes polled in Moscow in 1907: 

Moscow Election Ward 




Left Bloc 


































































Total, 16 wards . . . 







Moscow Election Ward 




Left Bloc 

In 1906 

































Total, 9 wards . . . 




Same 9 wards in 1907 





Thus, the Moscow elections prove that the stories about 
the Black-Hundred danger are false. We remind the reader 
once again that the election figures for St. Petersburg in 
1906 prove the same thing: 

Voting in St. Petersburg in the Elections to the First Duma 



One Half 
of That 







- 5 








- 9 









- 6 








- 9 












+ 15 27 




+ 14 

Vasilyevsky Ostrov .... 




+ 17 

Zreniye, No. 2, 
February 4, 1907 

Published according 
to the Zreniye text 



The Telegraf 23 for January 26 reports the following 
episode at a meeting held on January 24 in the Civil Engi- 
neers' Hall. 

"V. V. Vodovozov appears on the platform and reminds the meet- 
ing of the incident in the Nemetti Theatre: 'I asked there whether 
it was true that Milyukov was conducting negotiations with Stoly- 
pin behind the backs of the voters. I was answered by shouts: "Lies", 
"Calumny", and Prof. Gredeskul answered that Milyukov was an 
honest man, in whom the party had implicit confidence. I have not 
the least doubt about Milyukov's personal integrity, but such nego- 
tiations did take place. Milyukov himself does not deny it. Today 
in Rech he writes that he discussed with Stolypin the legalisation 
of the people's freedom party, but that the terms were unacceptable. 
But Milyukov is concealing these terms. If they are abominable they 
ought to be made public, they ought to be publicly condemned ... pil- 

"'I close the meeting!' announces a police inspector. 

"The public make for the exit, shouting and whistling. The organ- 
isers of the meeting sharply reproach Vodovozov, and the police 
inspector sends a couple of constables to the platform, in case of emer- 

Mr. Vodovozov deserves thanks and appreciation, not 
sharp reproaches, for his attempts to expose Milyukov's 
negotiations with Stolypin. Only philistines who fail to 
understand their duties as citizens, or those who are anxious 
to conceal from the people the intrigues of the Cadets, can 
reproach a politician for such action. We really do not 
know in which of these categories to place the organisers 
of the meeting, at which the principal speaker was Nabo- 
kov, a Cadet. 

The question of the negotiations between Milyukov and 
Stolypin is of tremendous importance. Those who are in- 
clined to treat this question lightly, to brush it aside as 



a minor scandal of no significance, are a thousand times 
wrong. Those who fear a scandal fail to recognise it as 
their civic duty to expose political Lidvaliads. 

And the negotiations between Milyukov and Stolypin are 
indeed a little bit of political Lidvaliad, in which criminal 
embezzlement and fraud are replaced by the politically dis- 
honest and criminal haggling of a party that has misappro- 
priated the great words, "the people's freedom". 

We have already pointed out in the newspaper Trud 29 
that Milyukov is concealing Stolypin's terms" from the 
people. He does not say whether there was one audience or 
several, and when they took place. Nor does he say whether 
Stolypin invited him, or whether he requested an audience. 
And lastly, he does not say whether the St. Petersburg 
Committee and the Central Committee of the Cadets have 
taken any decision on the matter, and whether anything 
has been communicated to the provinces about it. 

It is not difficult to see that a full assessment of Cadet 
Zubatovism 30 depends on these facts. Only shameful things 
are concealed from the people. Mr. Vodovozov is right: 
they must be made public. And it is Mr. Vodovozov's duty 
to continue his disclosures, if he wishes those citizens who 
understand their political duties to regard him as an honest, 
consistent and sterling politician, and not a journalist in 
search of sensation. In cases of infamy in public affairs, 
it is the duty of a citizen to compel those who are concealing 
the infamy to speak. 

Anyone who knows anything of these villanies and wants 
to do his duty as a citizen must compel the Milyukovs to 
take him to court for libel, and there expose the Cadet lead- 
er, who, in the thick of the people's election fight against 
the old regime, pays back-door visits to a leader of the 
old regime, behind the backs of the people! 

We publicly address the following questions to Mr. Mi- 
lyukov and the Cadet Party: 

(1) When did Milyukov (and his friends?) have his au- 
dience or audiences with Stolypin? 

(2) Did Stolypin invite Milyukov? Did Milyukov at the 
time know anything about the "abominable" (to use Mr. 
Vodovozov's expression) terms which Stolypin wanted to 
discuss with him? 



(3) When did the St. Petersburg Committee and the Cen- 
tral Committee of the Cadets (or the two committees jointly) 
meet to discuss Stolypin's proposals? Did they not decide 
to take certain steps towards meeting these proposals? 
Was anything about this communicated to the provinces? 

(4) What connection is there between Milyukov's audience 
with Stolypin and certain other steps taken by these two 
worthies to meet each other half way, and the character 
of the Cadets' behaviour at the "conference" with the petty- 
bourgeois bloc on January 18? 

We shall return, probably more than once, to these dis- 
closures about the "audience" granted to a Cadet by a reac- 
tionary. With all the documents in our hands that an 
outsider can procure, we shall yet prove that these negotia- 
tions between the Cadets and the Black Hundreds caused 
the failure of the bloc of "Lefts" and Cadets which many 
people desired, and which we have always opposed. 

For the time being we say: 

Let Mr. Milyukov and the Cadet Party be advised that 
not only Vodovozov, but very many other people will exert 
all their efforts to expose this political Lidvaliadl 

Zreniye, No. 2, 
February 4, 1907 

Published according 
to the Zreniye text 



Although the gathering of exact data on the elections 
in the worker curia is making slow progress (the Bolshe- 
viks have issued and circulated a printed questionnaire), 
the general character of the elections has nevertheless been 
made clear. 

The Socialist-Revolutionaries have no doubt gained more 
than we expected. This is admitted even by the Menshe- 
viks (Nash Mir, 31 No. 1). In the gubernia worker curia 
they secured the election of 4 electors out of 10. In the city 
worker curia they were defeated by the Social-Democrats, 
who secured the election of all 14 electors, but the Social- 
ist-Revolutionary candidates polled a high vote (110-135 
for the Socialist-Revolutionaries, 145-159 for the Social- 
Democrats, out of a total of 269 votes). 

To proceed. Nobody denies that the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries defeated us in the biggest factories. 

The Mensheviks do deny the following fact, the most 
vital for an understanding of the causes of our failures, 
namely, that the Socialist-Revolutionaries defeated mainly 

In a special article published in No. 1 of Nash Mir, 
on the elections in the worker curia, they say nothing about 
this, but while hypocritically complaining that the Social- 
Democrats had been weakened by factional strife, they 
slurred over the fact that it was the Mensheviks who have 
brought this factional struggle to the point of a split, and 
their tactics to a degree of "Cadetism" that antagonised 
the advanced workers. 



But even the data so far collected go more and more 
to confirm our original conclusion (in Proletary, No. 12), 
namely, that it was Mensheviks* who were defeated by 

For the Neva District, this is borne out by the figures 
for the various factories, published in Proletary, No. 12. 
The bald statement to the contrary in Nash Mir, No. 1, 
is simply ridiculous 

For the Moscow District, it is confirmed by the report 
in the present issue. 32 

For the Vyborg District, the Mensheviks themselves 
(Nash Mir, No. 1) give the following figures: for the urban 
section of the district (Mensheviks) 17 Social-Democrats, 
12 Socialist-Revolutionaries, and 2 unspecified. For the 
gubernia section of the district, where only Bolsheviks 
were working — 7 Social-Democrats and not a single So- 

Though not conclusive proof, these figures on the whole 
fully bear out our contention that it was the Mensheviks 
who were defeated by the Socialist-Revolutionaries. Nash 
Mir's attempt to argue that the Socialist-Revolutionaries 
were completely inactive in the gubernia section of the 
Vyborg District, and that "consequently there was no com- 
petition", is obviously unsound. In the first place, the 
question arises — why were the Socialist-Revolutionaries 
inactive in this particular suburb of St. Petersburg, although 
they were active in others? Was it not due to the fact that 
the "competition" of the Socialist-Revolutionaries had been 
eliminated beforehand by all our preliminary work? 
Secondly, the Mensheviks do not tell us exactly who the 
candidates were. Nor do they give us the figures for each 
factory. Thirdly, we know from the newspapers that it was 
at the election meetings in this very Vyborg District that the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries castigated the Mensheviks for 
their "Cadetism". 

Thus, Rech for January 24 reports a meeting held on 
January 21 in the Nobel Hall (No. 11 Neustadt St.). Ac- 
cording to Rech, Gurvich, a Social-Democrat, spoke and 
reproached the extreme Left parties for boycotting the Duma 

* See p. 65 of this volume. — Ed. 



{Rech uses italics to describe this service rendered the Ca- 
dets at a Left meeting!). Gurvich accused the Narodniks of 
"petty haggling" that killed the bloc with the Cadets. Re- 
plying to Gurvich, Narodnik Bickermann said that "the 
previous speaker s statement about petty haggling is slander ". 
Narodnik Smirnov argued that the Menshevik Gurvich "in 
no way differs from a Cadet". Smirnov referred to the fact 
that Gurvich had been publicly "praised" by the Cadet 

Such is the Rech report. It shows that it was for the Men- 
sheviks' attitude to the Cadets that they were castigated 
by the Socialist-Revolutionaries. 

In the Neva, Moscow and Vyborg districts, the Social- 
ist-Revolutionaries' success was particularly striking. It 
is these districts that help us to understand the cause of 
that success: the opportunist Social-Democrats are dis- 
crediting Social-Democracy in the eyes of the advanced 

But if the action of the Right Social-Democrats cost 
us four places out of ten in the gubernia worker curia, we 
made up for it in the city worker curia. 

As will be seen from what follows, -we made up for it by 
the fact that we displayed the tactics of revolutionary, 
not opportunist, Social-Democracy for all delegates to see. 

The total number of workers' delegates for the city was 
272. Of these, 147, i.e., more than half, were Social-Demo- 
crats or their sympathisers. The rest were partly definite 
Socialist-Revolutionaries (54), partly indefinite (55), non- 
party (6), one Right and 9 Trudoviks, the "Lefts" (two of 
them Cadets), and so on. 

The St. Petersburg Committee carried on vigorous ac- 
tivity among the delegates. The question discussed was one 
of universal interest, the question of tactics in the St. Pe- 
tersburg elections, with or against the Cadets? Represent- 
atives of the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. 
explained to the delegates the position of revolutionary 
Social-Democracy, while the Mensheviks spoke in defence 
of their own tactics. 

On January 28, the decisive meeting of the delegates of 
all parties was held. Some 200 to 250 people were present. 
A resolution was carried, with only 10 or 12 voting against, 



fully endorsing the tactics of the Bolsheviks, demanding 
support for the Left bloc, and definitely opposing the Men- 
sheviks and their "covert" support of the Cadets. 
Here is the text of the resolution: 


"(1) the success of the Left election lists, which have already been 
put forward by the Social-Democrats, Socialist-Revolutionaries, 
Trudoviks and Popular Socialists in opposition to the Black-Hun- 
dred and Cadet lists in the urban curia is of extreme political impor- 

"(2) such success is possible only if all the Left parties unanimously 
support the Left lists; 

"this meeting of workers' delegates from various factories calls 
on all Left parties to support the joint Left lists and under no cir- 
cumstances to put up separate lists, or support the Cadets, even 
covertly, in any district of St. Petersburg. 

"In conformity with the opinion of the masses, this meeting of 
delegates expresses the wish that our Menshevik Social-Democratic 
comrades should enter into agreement with the Lefts and contribute 
to the success of the Left lists in the St. Petersburg elections." 

Thus, in the city of St. Petersburg, which the Menshe- 
viks wanted to separate from the gubernia, representatives 
of the entire proletariat have condemned Menshevik tacticsl 

It was clear at the Social-Democratic conference that 
the majority of the St. Petersburg workers sympathised 
with Bolshevik tactics and this has now been proved con- 
clusively by the delegates' decision. 

On January 28, representatives of the masses of the 
workers called for the last time on the Mensheviks to abandon 
their tactics of "covertly'' supporting the Cadets, their 
blackleg tactics against the Left bloc. 

But even after that, the Mensheviks refused to submit 
to the will of the proletariat. On February 1, Rech published 
excerpts from their manifesto, in which they put spokes 
in the wheel of the Left bloc. On January 29, late at night, 
the non-party Progressists of the Kolomna District tore up 
their written agreement with the Mensheviks, after all 
the representatives of the Left bloc had explained to the 
Progressists that the Menshevik terms ("a free hand" for 
the electors, in other words, freedom to desert to the Cadets!) 
were untenable. 

On January 30 a meeting was held of workers' delegates 
belonging to the R.S.D.L.P. or sympathising with it. The 



majority of these delegates, ninety-eight persons, were 
present. Comrade V., representative of the St. Petersburg 
Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., proposed that they examine- 
the question of future Social-Democratic electors submit- 
ting to the instructions of the St. Petersburg Committee 
in electing members of the State Duma. He pointed out that 
under normal circumstances this question would not have 
given rise to any doubts or differences, since the instruc- 
tions of the St. Petersburg Committee are, of course, 
binding on all members of the St. Petersburg organisation. 
But at present a considerable section of the organisation, 
the majority of the Mensheviks, has broken away and an- 
nounced that the Menshevik electors reserve freedom of ac- 
tion for themselves. The representative of the St. Peters- 
burg Committee pointed out that if the workers' electors 
were to follow this recommendation of the unofficial, se- 
ceding section of the organisation, it would mean that the 
split already begun by the Mensheviks would be made final 
and would be a contravention of the decision adopted at the 
general meeting of delegates by an overwhelming majority 
to support the Left bloc in the election campaign. Comrades 
M. and A., Menshevik members of the St. Petersburg Com- 
mittee, objected to this, and insisted that the workers' 
electors must only reckon with the opinions of the dele- 
gates. By an overwhelming majority the following resolu- 
tion, proposed on behalf of the St. Petersburg Committee, 
was passed: "This meeting considers that submission to 
the instructions of the St. Petersburg Committee is ob- 
ligatory for electors during the elections." 

The Mensheviks vigorously opposed this resolution. The 
most prominent and responsible Mensheviks did not hesi- 
tate to oppose the St. Petersburg Committee even at a mo- 
ment like this — on the eve of the elections. They moved an 
"amendment" to substitute the words "St. Petersburg Or- 
ganisation" for St. Petersburg Committee. 

But the workers immediately saw through the Menshe- 
vik tactics, intended to split the Party in the interests of 
the Cadets. They shouted to the Menshevik speakers 
"Sit down!" The amendment, which was a covert justifica- 
tion of the split, was rejected by an overwhelming 



The meeting then proceeded with the nomination of 
R.S.D.L.P. candidates for electors. The St. Petersburg 
Committee submitted a list of 14 candidates, whom it rec- 
ommended from a list of 21 nominated by the district 
meetings of delegates. The motion to accept this list as a 
basis for discussion, was carried by an overwhelming 
majority, despite objections from the Mensheviks, who 
said this was "governmental pressure". Comrade V., rep- 
resentative of the St. Petersburg Committee, explained 
that this was not "governmental pressure", that the St. 
Petersburg Committee has authority only to the extent that 
it enjoys the confidence of the organised Social-Democratic 
proletariat of St. Petersburg, and that, in submitting the 
list of recommendations, it was only doing its duty as the 
organisation's guiding body. All the nominees were dis- 
cussed, and one of the candidates, on the proposal of the 
representative of the St. Petersburg Committee, was with- 
drawn and replaced by another. Then they were put to the 
vote, which resulted in the entire list proposed by the St. 
Petersburg Committee being approved by a considerable 

The St. Petersburg Committee's list was published in 
all newspapers on the eve of the elections. 

The elections of February 1 resulted in a victory for the 
united Social-Democrats. The St. Petersburg Committee's 
list was elected in toto. All fourteen electors are Social- 

Of these fourteen — eight are Bolsheviks, four are Men- 
sheviks (strictly speaking, one is a syndicalist, not a Men- 
shevik), and two are non-factional Social-Democrats who 
are in favour of the Left bloc. 

In the city worker curia, the Bolsheviks made up for 
the losses sustained by the Social-Democrats in the gubernia 
worker curia. 

Let Rech now rave to its heart's content (see the article 
in the issue of February 3), and say that the Bolsheviks 
did not give the Socialist-Revolutionaries even a propor- 
tionate minority. 

We never promised the Socialist-Revolutionaries pro- 
portional representation — and no one has shown what 
the proportion is, for no figures on the voting are avail- 



able. We are the first to have begun collecting these 

We have left ourselves a free hand to fight all the other 
parties in the worker curia. 

Thanks to action by the revolutionary Social-Democrats, 
out of the total number of workers' electors for St. Peters- 
burg and St. Petersburg Gubernia, only 4 are Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and 20 are Social-Democrats. 

At the next elections we shall win all the places for So- 

Proletary, No. 13, 
February 11, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 



We call our readers' attention to the fact that the data 
on the elections of delegates by the St. Petersburg workers 
expose, to an ever greater extent, the way in which the Men- 
sheviks got themselves votes for the Social-Democratic 
conference. From the Franco-Russian Subdistrict, for 
example, they "brought" 370 Menshevik votes to the con- 
ference. Here the Bolsheviks did not count on a single valid 
Party vote. But what happened then? The delegate from 
the Franco-Russian Factory was a Bolshevik, who has 
now been chosen as elector! 

And that is where an unexpected exposure of the Men- 
sheviks came from. 

To continue: the Menshevik weekly Nash Mir (No. 1, 
January 28) had the temerity to say of the Moscow Dis- 
trict that "in the Bolshevik Neva and Moscow districts, 
exclusively Socialist-Revolutionaries were elected as dele- 
gates" (p. 14). It has already been shown in Proletary, No. 12 
that this is a patent untruth as far as the Neva District is 
concerned, for there it was precisely the Mensheviks who 
were so thoroughly defeated by the Socialist-Revolu- 

Let us turn to the Moscow District. The Mensheviks 
consider this a Bolshevik district now that they have to 
find somebody to blame for the defeat other than them- 
selves! But the Mensheviks must not forget that this time 
their words can be verified}. We can take the official state- 
ment made to the Central Committee by the thirty-one 
Mensheviks on their reasons for leaving the conference (the 



printed pamphlet we analysed in Proletary, No. 12*). 
Among the thirty-one signatures we find "five from the 
Moscow District". 

But the conference approved the mandates of four Bolshe- 
viks and four Mensheviks from the Moscow District. 

Instructive, is it not? 

When Menshevik votes have to be mustered for the con- 
ference they count five Mensheviks against three or four 
Bolsheviks. In that case the Mensheviks want to be in the 

But when they want to shift the political responsibility 
on to somebody else they declare that the Moscow District 
is a "Bolshevik district".... 

The Bolsheviks counted 185 votes for the Moscow Dis- 
trict, and the Mensheviks, in that same pamphlet, admitted 
that they had challenged these votes only "tentatively", 
that actually the votes should have been confirmed (p. 7 of 
the same pamphlet). 

The Mensheviks counted their votes for the Moscow Dis- 
trict as 48 + 98 + 97, altogether 243. Of these, 195 were 
challenged, although the Mensheviks themselves insisted 
at the time (p. 7 of the pamphlet) that all 243 votes should 
be confirmed! 

The Mensheviks, therefore, considered themselves to 
have a very substantial majority in Moscow District — 243 
votes against 185. ... Nash Mir has, indeed, acted very 
injudiciously: its own words serve to prove that the Men- 
sheviks acted dishonestly at the conference. 

In conclusion we would remind the comrade who sent 
us the report on the Moscow District that it is extremely 
important to have complete figures, for each factory sepa- 
rately, on the election of delegates and on the number of 
votes polled by the different candidates. 

Proletary, No. 13, Published according 

February 11, 1907 to the Proletary text 

See pp. 29-32 of this volume. —Ed. 



Our appeal to all Russian Social-Democrats to organise 
the collection of exact figures on the elections in the worker 
curia has not been futile. We have already received replies 
to 93 of the questionnaires we distributed among the St. 
Petersburg comrades. These 93 questionnaires were distrib- 
uted by districts as follows: Peterburgskaya Storona, 7; 
Vasilyevsky Ostrov, 22; Vyborg, 18; Moscow, 18; City, 28. 
We ask comrades to expedite the dispatch of the remaining 
forms to help make our information complete, particularly 
for the big factories. We shall then publish the full figures. 

From the provinces we have the returns for six factories 
in Ekaterinoslav Gubernia. We give these in tabulated 
form to show the comrades what kind of information the 
Party needs and what conclusions we should draw from the 
experience of the first Party elections in the worker curia. 

Name of 

of workers 

Number of 

Party af- 
filiation of 

Number of 
votes cast 

Number of votes 
cast for: 







Esau Works .... 



S.D. Mensh. 





Locomotive Repair 




S.D. Mensh. 



Locomotive Depot . 






Nail Factory .... 



S.D. Bolsh. 



Pipe-Rolling Works . 



S.D. Mensh. 




Bryansk Rolling Mill 







Total, 6 factories . . 



6 S.D. 






4 S.R. 





Of course, we do not know how typical these figures are, 
and to what extent the conclusions to be drawn from them 
can be applied to the whole of Ekaterinoslav Gubernia. 
In order to draw final conclusions we must obtain complete 

For the time being there are two points we can mention. 
The percentage of workers taking part in the elections 
is not high. Evidently, Social-Democratic activity is 
not thorough enough and does not reach the masses 
in their entirety. On the whole, less than one-third 
of the total number of workers took part in the elections. 
The lowest percentage is at the Tubing Works — 200 
out of 850, i.e., less than one-fourth. The highest is 
at the Esau Works: 130 out of 350, i.e., more than one 

The Socialist-Revolutionaries competed with us at two 
factories: Esau and Bryansk. At the latter, the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries defeated the Mensheviksl The biggest 
factory elected four Socialist-Revolutionary dele- 

Thus, the preliminary figures for the South (very incom- 
plete, it is true) confirm the conclusion we drew about the 
North: the Socialist-Revolutionaries are beating the Men- 
sheviks, for the edification of the opportunists, it might 
seem, or else to teach a lesson to people who with unpar- 
donable thoughtlessness brush aside revolutionary bourgeois 
democracy and hanker after liberal-monarchist bourgeois 

The Socialist-Revolutionaries account for 40 per cent, 
i.e., two-fifths, of the total number of delegates (10). But 
the number of votes cast for the Socialist-Revolutionaries 
was less than one-third of the total — 815 out of 2,710. It 
is worth noting that, despite their victory at the biggest 
factory, the proportion of votes obtained by the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries was smaller than the proportion of dele- 
gates. This shows how groundless and unsupported were 
the assertions of St. Petersburg Socialist-Revolutionaries that 
their share of votes must have been larger than that indi- 
cated by their share of delegates. Such assertions must not 
be made without documentary statistical evidence of the 
number of votes cast at each factory. 


We hope that comrades all over Russia will continue to 
collect information along the lines indicated, so that the 
Party as a whole may form a clear and definite idea of the 
results of its campaign, and learn to understand the causes 
of its relative failures. 

Proletary, No. 13, 
February 11, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 



The election campaign in St. Petersburg is drawing to 
a close. The elections are only three days away, and by 
the time the reader sees these lines the results of the voting 
in St. Petersburg will be known. 

One might think it useless to discuss the significance 
of the St. Petersburg elections until they are over. But 
that is not so. The election campaign in St. Petersburg has 
such a long history and has provided such an abundance of 
unusually instructive political material that its significance 
is already quite clear. Whatever the outcome of the 
elections, there can be no doubt that the St. Petersburg 
campaign of 1906-07 already constitutes an important, 
independent stage in the history of the Russian 

The St. Petersburg election campaign has been a definite 
gain for the revolution, first, because it has brought out 
the relations between the political parties and revealed the 
frame of mind (and, consequently, the interests and the 
entire political situation) of the different classes, and then 
it has served in a big, public, mass event, as a practical 
test of the various answers given to the fundamental ques- 
tions of Social-Democratic tactics in the Russian bourgeois 

The main events in the St. Petersburg election campaign 
occurred with the speed of a whirlwind. And in this whirl- 
wind, when immediate action was necessary at all costs, the 
true nature and character of the various parties and trends 
revealed themselves as never before. No formal ties or party 



traditions were able to withstand this whirlwind organi- 
sations broke asunder, promises were broken, decisions and 
positions were changed, and every day brought momen- 
tous news. The clashes between the different parties and 
trends were unusually sharp; polemics, sharp enough even 
in ordinary times, developed into a melee. This is not due 
to the fact that Russians have no self-restraint, or that they 
have been warped by illegal conditions, or that we are ill- 
bred — only philistines can bring forward such explana- 

No, the sharpness of these clashes, the fury of the struggle, 
was due to the depth of class differences, to the antagonism 
of the social and political trends which events brought 
to the surface with unexpected rapidity, and which de- 
manded immediate "steps" from all, brought them all into 
collision, and compelled each to defend in struggle, aus- 
kdmpfen, his proper place and his real line of policy. 

All parties have their headquarters in St. Petersburg, 
the hub of political life in Russia. The press is not of local, 
but of national significance. It was therefore inevitable 
that the struggle of the parties in the St. Petersburg elec- 
tion campaign should become an extremely important 
symptom, a portent and prototype of many future battles 
and events, parliamentary and non-parliamentary, in the 
Russian revolution. 

At first the question at issue was the seemingly petty, 
secondary, "technical" question of an agreement between 
all the opposition and revolutionary parties against the 
Black-Hundred danger. But this "simple" question actually 
concealed the fundamental political questions of: (1) the 
attitude of the government towards the liberals, the Cadets; 
(2) the real political trend of the Cadets; (3) the hegemony 
of the Cadets in the Russian liberation movement; (4) the 
political trends of the petty-bourgeois Trudovik parties; 
(5) the mutual class interests and political affinity of the 
moderate Popular Socialists and the revolutionary Social- 
ist-Revolutionaries; (6) the petty-bourgeois or opportunist 
section of the Social-Democratic Labour Party; (7) the 
hegemony of the proletariat in the liberation movement; 
(8) the significance of the visible and open, and of the invis- 
ible and concealed elements and "potentialities" of the 



revolutionary petty-bourgeois democratic movement in 

And this abundance of political questions was raised 
and settled by events, by the course of the election cam- 
paign itself. These questions were raised against the will 
of many parties and without their being aware of them — 
and they were settled "violently" even to the extent of 
breaking all traditions — and the outcome was a surprise 
to the vast majority of the politicians taking part in the 

"The Bolsheviks scraped through by a fluke," says the 
philistine, shaking his head over all these surprises. "It 
was just a stroke of luck." 

Such talk reminds me of a passage in the recently pub- 
lished letters of Engels to Sorge. On March 7, 1884, Engels 
wrote to Sorge: 

"A fortnight ago, my nephew from Barmen, an independ- 
ent Conservative, came to visit me. I said to him: 'We 
have reached such a pitch in Germany that we can simply 
fold our arms and make our enemies do our work. Whether 
you repeal the Anti-Socialist Law, extend it, tighten it 
up or modify it — will make no difference, whatever you 
do, you will play into our hands. 'Yes,' he replied, 'cir- 
cumstances are working wonderfully in your favour.' 'Well, 
of course,' I replied, 'they would not if we had not correctly 
defined them forty years ago and had we not acted accord- 
ingly.' My nephew made no reply." 33 

The Bolsheviks cannot speak of forty years, of course — 
we are comparing something small with something very 
big — but we can speak of months and years of Social- 
Democratic tactics in the bourgeois revolution defined in ad- 
vance. The Bolsheviks did indeed fold their arms during 
the most important and decisive moments in the election 
campaign in St. Petersburg — and circumstances worked for 
us. All our enemies, from the formidable and ruthless enemy 
Stolypin, to the revisionists, "enemies" with cardboard 
swords, worked for us. 

At the beginning of the election campaign in St. Peters- 
burg the whole opposition, all the Lefts, were opposed to 
the Bolsheviks. Everything possible or conceivable was 
done against us. Yet everything turned out as we said. 



Why? Because long before (as long ago as "Two Tactics",* 
1905, in Geneva) we gave a far more correct assessment of 
the government's attitude towards the liberals and the at- 
titude of the petty-bourgeois democrats towards the pro- 

What killed the bloc that was almost arranged between 
the Cadets and all the "Lefts" except the Bolsheviks? The 
negotiations between Milyukov and Stolypin. Stolypin 
beckoned — and the Cadet turned his back on the people to 
fawn like a puppy on his Black-Hundred master. 

Was this chance? No, it was necessity, because the fun- 
damental interests of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie 
compel them to abandon the revolutionary struggle con- 
ducted together with the people at every decisive moment, 
and seek a compromise with reaction. 

What was the cause of the absolute instability and 
spinelessness of all the petty-bourgeois (Narodnik and Tru- 
dovik) parties and of the Mensheviks, the petty-bourgeois 
section of the workers' party? Why did they waver and 
vacillate, dash from Right to Left, follow in the wake of the 
Cadets, and hold them so dear? 

Not because of the personal qualities of the individual 
but because the petty bourgeois is inevitably inclined to 
follow in the footsteps of the liberal, to drag along behind 
him, because the petty bourgeois has no faith in himself, 
is unable to endure temporary "isolation", is unable to face 
the baying of the bourgeois hounds without fear and trem- 
bling, has no faith in the independent revolutionary struggle 
of the masses, of the proletariat and peasants, shirks the 
role of leader in the bourgeois revolution, renounces his own 
slogans, and adapts and accommodates himself to the Mi- 

And the Milyukovs accommodate themselves to Stolypin! 

The Bolsheviks determined their policy themselves, and 
in advance, unfurled their own banner, the banner of the 
revolutionary proletariat, before the people. 

Down with hypocritical fables about a Black-Hundred 
danger, about "fighting" by paying calls on Stolypin! 
Those who really want freedom for the people and victory 

See present edition, Vol. 9, pp. 15-140.— Ed. 



for the revolution — let them follow us, both against the 
Black-Hundred gang and the Cadet hucksters. 

We will fight independently, under all circumstances. 
We are not afraid to "isolate" ourselves from your cheap and 
nasty, petty and miserable tricks and transactions. 

With the proletariat for the revolution — or with the 
liberals for negotiations with Stolypin — voters, make your 
choice! Make your choice, Messrs. Narodniks! And you too, 
Menshevik comrades! 

And having determined our line, we sat back, and waited 
for the outcome of the scrimmage that had begun. On Jan- 
uary 6 our conference unfurled our banner. Until January 
18 Milyukov grovelled at Stolypin's feet while the Men- 
sheviks, Narodniks and non-party people, grovelled at 
Milyukov's feet. 

They all got themselves in a tangle. They were all playing 
at diplomacy, and wrangled and quarrelled among them- 
selves to such an extent that they could not march to- 

We did not play at diplomacy, and denounced them all 
for the sake of a clear and open declaration of the principles 
of revolutionary proletarian struggle. 

And all who were capable of fighting followed us. The 
Left bloc became a fact. The hegemony of the revolutionary 
proletariat became a fact. The proletariat led all the Tru- 
doviks and a large part of the Mensheviks, even intellec- 

The banner of the proletariat has been raised at the St. 
Petersburg elections. And whatever the outcome of the 
first serious elections in Russia in which all parties have 
participated — the banner of the independent proletariat, 
which is pursuing its own line, has already been raised. It 
will be held high in the parliamentary struggle and in all 
other forms of struggle that will lead to the victory of the 

By the strength of its own independence, consistency 
and firmness, the socialist proletariat must win over the 
masses of oppressed and downtrodden peasants, the masses 
of wavering, vacillating and unstable petty-bourgeois dem- 
ocrats, and alienate them from the treacherous liberal 
bourgeoisie, thus gaining control over the bourgeoisie, and, 



at the head of a popular mass movement, crush the hated 
autocracy — such is the task of the socialist proletariat 
in the bourgeois revolution. 

Written on February 4 (17), 1907 

Published on February 11, 1907 Published according 

in Proletary, No. 13 to the newspaper text 



Our purpose in issuing as a separate pamphlet the full 
collection of Marx's letters to Kugelmann published in the 
German Social-Democratic weekly, Neue Zeit, is to acquaint 
the Russian public more closely with Marx and Marxism. 
As was to be expected, a good deal of space in Marx's cor- 
respondence is devoted to personal matters. This is exceed- 
ingly valuable material for the biographer. But for the 
general public, and for the Russian working class in partic- 
ular, those passages in the letters which contain theoret- 
ical and political material are infinitely more important. 
In the revolutionary period we are now passing through, 
it is particularly instructive for us to make a careful study 
of this material, which reveals Marx as a man who respond- 
ed directly to all questions of the labour movement and 
world politics. The editors of Neue Zeit are quite right in 
saying that "we are elevated by an acquaintance with the 
personality of men whose thoughts and wills took shape in 
the period of great upheavals". Such an acquaintance is 
doubly necessary to the Russian socialist in 1907, for it 
provides a wealth of very valuable material indicating the 
direct tasks confronting socialists in every revolution 
through which a country passes. Russia is experiencing a 
"great upheaval" at this very moment. In the present Rus- 
sian revolution the Social-Democrat should more and more 
frequently pattern his policy after that of Marx in the 
comparatively stormy sixties. 

We shall, therefore, permit ourselves to make only brief 
mention of those passages in Marx's correspondence that are 
of particular importance from the theoretical standpoint, 


and shall deal in greater detail with his revolutionary 
policy as a representative of the proletariat. 

Of outstanding interest as a contribution to a fuller and 
more profound understanding of Marxism is the letter of 
July 11, 1868 (p. 42, et seq.). 34 In the form of a polemic 
against the vulgar economists, Marx in this letter very 
clearly expounds his conception of what is called the "la- 
bour" theory of value. Those very objections to Marx's 
theory of value which naturally arise in the minds of the 
least trained readers of Capital and for this reason are most 
eagerly seized upon by the common or garden representa- 
tives of "professorial" bourgeois "science", are here analysed 
by Marx briefly, simply, and with remarkable lucidity. 
Marx here shows the road he took and the road to be taken 
towards elucidation of the law of value. He teaches us his 
method, using the most common objections as illustrations. 
He makes clear the connection between such a purely (it 
would seem) theoretical and abstract question as the theory 
of value and "the interest of the ruling classes", which must be 
"to perpetuate confusion ". It is only to be hoped that every- 
one who begins to study Marx and read Capital will read 
and re-read this letter when studying the first and most 
difficult chapters of that book. 

Other passages in the letters that are very interesting from 
the theoretical standpoint are those in which Marx passes 
judgement on various writers. When you read these opin- 
ions of Marx — vividly written, full of passion and reveal- 
ing a profound interest in all the great ideological trends 
and in an analysis of them — you realise that you are 
listening to the words of a great thinker. Apart from the 
remarks on Dietzgen, made in passing, the comments on 
the Proudhonists (p. 17) 35 deserve particular attention 
from the reader. The "brilliant" young bourgeois intellec- 
tuals who dash "into the thick of the proletariat" at times 
of social upheaval, and are incapable of acquiring the stand- 
point of the working class or of carrying on persistent and 
serious work among the "rank and file" of the proletarian 
organizations, are depicted with remarkable vividness in a 
few strokes of the pen. 

Take the comment on Diihring (p. 35), 36 which, as it 
were, anticipates the contents of the famous Anti-Diihring 



written by Engels (in conjunction with Marx) nine years 
later. There is a Russian translation of this book by Ze- 
derbaum which, unfortunately, is not only guilty of omis- 
sions but is simply a poor translation, with mistakes. 
Here, too, we have the comment on Thiinen, which likewise 
touches on Ricardo's theory of rent. Marx had already, in 
1868, emphatically rejected "Ricardo's errors", which he 
finally refuted in Volume III of Capital, published in 1894, 
but which to this very day are repeated by the revisionists — 
from our ultra-bourgeois and even "Black-Hundred" 
Mr. Bulgakov to the "almost orthodox" Maslov. 

Interesting, too, is the comment on Biichner, with an 
appraisal of vulgar materialism and of the "superficial 
nonsense" copied from Lange (the usual source of "profes- 
sorial" bourgeois philosophy!) (p. 48). 37 

Let us pass to Marx's revolutionary policy. There is 
among Social-Democrats in Russia a surprisingly widespread 
philistine conception of Marxism, according to which a 
revolutionary period, with its specific forms of struggle 
and its special proletarian tasks, is almost an anomaly, 
while a "constitution" and an "extreme opposition" are the 
rule. In no other country in the world at this moment is 
there such a profound revolutionary crisis as in Russia — 
and in no other country are there "Marxists" (belittlers and 
vulgarisers of Marxism) who take up such a sceptical and 
philistine attitude towards the revolution. From the fact 
that the revolution is bourgeois in content they draw the 
shallow conclusion that the bourgeoisie is the driving force 
of the revolution, that the tasks of the proletariat in this 
revolution are of an ancillary, not independent, character 
and that proletarian leadership of the revolution is im- 

How excellently Marx, in his letters to Kugelmann, ex- 
poses this shallow interpretation of Marxism. Here is a 
letter dated April 6, 1866. At that time Marx had finished 
his principal work. He had given his final judgement on 
the German Revolution of 1848 fourteen years before this 
letter was written. He had himself, in 1850, renounced his 
socialist illusions that a socialist revolution was impend- 
ing in 1848. And in 1866, when only just beginning to 
observe the growth of new political crises, he writes: 


"Will our philistines [he is referring to the German bour- 
geois liberals] at last realise that without a revolution 
which removes the Hapsburgs and Hohenzollerns ... there 
must finally come another Thirty Years' War...!" (pp. 13- 
14). 38 

There is not a shadow of illusion here that the impend- 
ing revolution (it took place from above, not from below 
as Marx had expected) would remove the bourgeoisie and 
capitalism, but a most clear and precise statement that 
it would remove only the Prussian and Austrian mon- 
archies. And what faith in this bourgeois revolution! What 
revolutionary passion of a proletarian fighter who realises 
the vast significance the bourgeois revolution has for the 
progress of the socialist movement! 

Noting "a very interestingly social movement three years 
later, on the eve of the downfall of the Napoleonic Empire 
in France, Marx says in a positive outburst of enthusiasm 
that "the Parisians are making a regular study of their 
recent revolutionary past, in order to prepare themselves 
for the business of the impending new revolution". And 
describing the struggle of classes revealed in this study of 
the past, Marx concludes (p. 56): "And so the whole histori- 
cal witches' cauldron is bubbling. When will our country 
[Germany] be so far." 39 

Such is the lesson to be learned from Marx by the Rus- 
sian Marxist intellectuals, who are debilitated by scepticism, 
dulled by pedantry, have a penchant for penitent speeches, 
rapidly tire of the revolution, and yearn, as for a holiday, 
for the interment of the revolution and its replacement 
by constitutional prose. From the theoretician and leader 
of the proletarians they should learn faith in the revolu- 
tion, the ability to call on the working class to fight for its 
immediate revolutionary aims to the last, and a firmness 
of spirit which admits of no faint-hearted whimpering 
following temporary setbacks of the revolution. 

The pedants of Marxism think that this is all ethical 
twaddle, romanticism, and lack of a sense of reality! No, 
gentlemen, this is the combination of revolutionary theory 
and revolutionary policy, without which Marxism becomes 
Brentanoism, 40 Struvism 41 and Sombartism. 42 The Marx- 
ian doctrine has fused the theory and practice of the class 



struggle into one inseparable whole. And he is no Marxist 
who takes a theory that soberly states the objective situa- 
tion and distorts it into a justification of the existing order 
and even goes to the length of trying to adapt himself as 
quickly as possible to every temporary decline in the 
revolution, to discard "revolutionary illusions" as quickly 
as possible, and to turn to "realistic" tinkering. 

In times that were most peaceful, seemingly "idyllic 
as Marx expressed it, and "wretchedly stagnant" (as Neue 
Zeit put it), Marx was able to sense the approach of revo- 
lution and to rouse the proletariat to a consciousness of 
its advanced revolutionary tasks. Our Russian intellec- 
tuals, who vulgarise Marx in a philistine manner, in the 
most revolutionary times teach the proletariat a policy 
of passivity, of submissively "drifting with the current", 
of timidly supporting the most unstable elements of the 
fashionable liberal party! 

Marx's assessment of the Commune crowns the letters 
to Kugelmann. And this assessment is particularly valuable 
when compared with the methods of the Russian Right- 
wing Social-Democrats. Plekhanov, who after December 1905 
faintheartedly exclaimed: "They should not have taken 
up arms", had the modesty to compare himself to Marx. 
Marx, says he, also put the brakes on the revolution in 1870. 

Yes, Marx also put the brakes on the revolution. But 
see what a gulf lies between Plekhanov and Marx, in Ple- 
khanov's own comparison! 

In November 1905, a month before the first revolutionary 
wave in Russia had reached its climax, Plekhanov, far from 
emphatically warning the proletariat, spoke directly of 
the necessity to learn to use arms and to arm. Yet, when 
the struggle flared up a month later, Plekhanov, without 
making the slightest attempt to analyse its significance, 
its role in the general course of events and its connection 
with previous forms of struggle, hastened to play the part 
of a penitent intellectual and exclaimed: "They should not 
have taken up arms." 

In September 1870, six months before the Commune, 
Marx gave a direct warning to the French workers: insur- 
rection would be an act of desperate folly, he said in the 
well-known Address of the International. 43 He exposed 


in advance the nationalistic illusions of the possibility of a 
movement in the spirit of 1792. He was able to say, not 
after the event, but many months before: "Don't take up 

And how did he behave when this hopeless cause, as he 
himself had called it in September, began to take practical 
shape in March 1871? Did he use it (as Plekhanov did the 
December events) to "take a dig" at his enemies, the Proud- 
honists and Blanquists who were leading the Commune? 
Did he begin to scold like a schoolmistress, and say: "I told 
you so, I warned you; this is what comes of your romanti- 
cism, your revolutionary ravings"? Did he preach to the 
Communards, as Plekhanov did to the December fighters, 
the sermon of the smug philistine: "You should not have 
taken up arms"? 

No. On April 12, 1871, Marx writes an enthusiastic letter 
to Kugelmann — a letter which we would like to see hung 
in the home of every Russian Social-Democrat and of every 
literate Russian worker. 

In September 1870 Marx had called the insurrection an 
act of desperate folly; but in April 1871, when he saw the 
mass movement of the people, he watched it with the keen 
attention of a participant in great events marking a step 
forward in the historic revolutionary movement. 

This is an attempt, he says, to smash the bureaucratic 
military machine, and not simply to transfer it to differ- 
ent hands. And he has words of the highest praise for the 
"heroic" Paris workers led by the Proudhonists and Blan- 
quists. "What elasticity," he writes, "what historical initia- 
tive, what a capacity for sacrifice in these Parisians! ... 
[p. 88]. History has no like example of a like greatness." 

The historical initiative of the masses was what Marx prized 
above everything else. Ah, if only our Russian Social- 
Democrats would learn from Marx how to appreciate the 
historical initiative of the Russian workers and peasants 
in October and December 1905! 

Compare the homage paid to the historical initiative 
of the masses by a profound thinker, who foresaw failure 
six months ahead — and the lifeless, soulless, pedantic: 
"They should not have taken up arms"! Are these not as 
far apart as heaven and earth? 



And like a participant in the mass struggle, to which 
he reacted with all his characteristic ardour and passion, 
Marx, then living in exile in London, set to work to criti- 
cise the immediate steps of the "recklessly brave" Parisians 
who were "ready to storm heaven'. 

Ah, how our present "realist" wiseacres among the Marx- 
ists, who in 1906-07 are deriding revolutionary romantic- 
ism in Russian would have sneered at Marx at the time! 
How people would have scoffed at a materialist, an econo- 
mist, an enemy of Utopias, who pays homage to an "attempt" 
to storm heavenl What tears, condescending smiles or com- 
miseration these "men in mufflers" 44 would have bestowed 
upon him for his rebel tendencies, utopianism, etc., etc., 
and for his appreciation of a heaven-storming move- 

But Marx was not inspired with the wisdom of the small 
fry who are afraid to discuss the technique of the higher 
forms of revolutionary struggle. It is precisely the tech- 
nical problems of the insurrection that he discussed. De- 
fence or attack? — he asked, as if the military operations 
were taking place just outside London. And he decided that 
it must certainly be attack: "They should have marched 
at once on Versailles. .." '. 

This was written in April 1871, a few weeks before the 
great and bloody May.... 

"They should have marched at once on Versailles" — 
the insurgents should, those who had begun the "act of 
desperate folly" (September 1870) of storming heaven. 

"They should not have taken up arms" in December 1905 
in order to oppose by force the first attempts to take away 
the liberties that had been won.... 

Yes, Plekhanov had good reason to compare himself to 

"Second mistake," Marx said, continuing his technical 
criticism: "The Central Committee" (the military command — 
note this — the reference is to the Central Committee of the 
National Guard) "surrendered its power too soon...". 

Marx knew how to warn the leaders against a premature 
rising. But his attitude towards the heaven-storming pro- 
letariat was that of a practical advisor, of a participant 
in the struggle of the masses, who were raising the whole 


movement to a higher level in spite of the false theories and 
mistakes of Blanqui and Proudhon. 

"However that may be," he wrote, "the present rising 
in Paris — even if it be crushed by the wolves, swine, and 
vile curs of the old society — is the most glorious deed of 
our Party since the June insurrection...." 45 

And, without concealing from the proletariat a single 
mistake of the Commune, Marx dedicated to this heroic 
deed a work which to this very day serves as the best guide in 
the fight for "heaven" and as a frightful bugbear to the 
liberal and radical "swine". 

Plekhanov dedicated to the December events a "work" 
which has become practically the bible of the Cadets. 

Yes, Plekhanov had good reason to compare himself to 

Kugelmann apparently replied to Marx expressing cer- 
tain doubts, referring to the hopelessness of the struggle 
and to realism as opposed to romanticism — at any rate, he 
compared the Commune, an insurrection, to the peaceful 
demonstration in Paris on June 13, 1849. 

Marx immediately (April 17, 1871) severely lectured 

"World history" he wrote, "would indeed be very easy 
to make, if the struggle were taken up only on condition of 
infallibly favourable chances." 

In September 1870, Marx called the insurrection an act 
of desperate folly. But, when the masses rose, Marx wanted 
to march with them, to learn with them in the process of 
the struggle, and not to give them bureaucratic admonitions. 
He realised that to attempt in advance to calculate the 
chances with complete accuracy would be quackery or hope- 
less pedantry. What he valued above everything else was 
that the working class heroically and self-sacrificingly 
took the initiative in making world history. Marx regarded 
world history from the standpoint of those who make it 
without being in a position to calculate the chances in- 
fallibly beforehand, and not from the standpoint of an in- 
tellectual philistine who moralises: "It was easy to fore- 
see ... they should not have taken up...". 

Marx was also able to appreciate that there are moments 
in history when a desperate struggle of the masses, even 



for a hopeless cause, is essential for the further schooling 
of these masses and their training' for the next struggle. 

Such a statement of the question is quite incomprehen- 
sible and even alien in principle to our present-day quasi- 
Marxists, who like to take the name of Marx in vain, to 
borrow only his estimate of the past, and not his ability to 
make the future. Plekhanov did not even think of it when 
be set out after December 1905 "to put the brakes on". 

But it is precisely this question that Marx raised, with- 
out in the least forgetting that he himself in September 
1870 regarded insurrection as an act of desperate folly. 

"...The bourgeois canaille of Versailles," he wrote, 
"...presented the Parisians with the alternative of either 
taking up the fight or succumbing without a struggle. The 
demoralisation of the working class in the latter case would 
have been a far greater misfortune than the succumbing 
of any number of 'leaders'." 46 

And with this we shall conclude our brief review of the 
lessons in a policy worthy of the proletariat which Marx 
teaches in his letters to Kugelmann. 

The working class of Russia has already proved once, and 
will prove again more than once, that it is capable of "storm- 
ing heaven". 

February 5, 1907 

Published in 1907 in the pamphlet: Published according 

Karl Marx. Letters to Dr. Kugelmann, to the text of the pamphlet 

edited and with a preface by N. Lenin. 
Novaya Duma Publishers, 
St. Petersburg 



St. Petersburg, February 7, 1907. 

Events are moving at a pace which can only be called 
revolutionary. Four days ago, in discussing the election 
campaign in St. Petersburg, we wrote that the political 
alignment was already clear: revolutionary Social-Democ- 
racy alone had independently, resolutely, and proudly un- 
furled the banner of relentless struggle against the violence 
of reaction and the hypocrisy of the liberals. The petty- 
bourgeois democrats (including the petty-bourgeois section 
of the workers' party) were wavering, turning now to the 
liberals, now to the revolutionary Social-Democrats. 

In St. Petersburg the elections to the Duma take place 
today. Their results cannot affect the alignment of social 
forces we have already indicated. And yesterday's elections, 
which have accounted for 217 of the 524 members, i.e., 
more than two-fifths, are a clear indication of the polit- 
ical composition of the Second Duma, a clear indication 
of the political situation which is developing before our eyes. 

According to Rech, which, of course, is inclined to paint 
a picture favourable to the Cadets, the 205 members already 
elected to the Duma are distributed as follows: Rights, 37; 
National-Autonomists, 47 24; Cadets, 48; Progressists and 
non-party, 16; non-party Lefts, 40; Narodniks, 20 (13 Tru- 
doviks, 6 Socialist-Revolutionaries, and 1 Popular So- 
cialist); and 20 Social-Democrats. 

We have before us a Duma that is undoubtedly more 
Left than the previous one. If the rest of the elections yield 
similar results we shall have the following round figures 



for 500 members of the Duma: Rights, 90; Nationalists, 
50; Cadets, 125; Progressists, 35; non-party Lefts, 100; Na- 
rodniks, 50; Social-Democrats, 50. It goes without saying 
that this is only an approximate estimate made for the 
sake of illustration, but there can hardly be any doubt 
of the correctness of these totals. 

The Rights constitute one-fifth; the moderate liberals 
(the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie, including the Nation- 
alists, Cadets, and some, if not all, Progressists) — two- 
fifths; the Lefts — two-fifths (non-party, one-fifth, and 
Narodniks and Social-Democrats sharing equally the other 
fifth) — such is the make-up of the Second Duma as it ap- 
pears to us on the basis of the preliminary returns. 

What does this mean? 

The most savage and shameless tyranny of the Black- 
Hundred government, which is the most reactionary in Eu- 
rope. The most reactionary election law in all Europe. The 
most revolutionary popular representative body in Europe 
in the most backward country! 

This glaring contradiction clearly reveals the funda- 
mental contradiction in the whole of contemporary Russian 
life, reveals to the full the revolutionary character of the 
present day. 

Two revolutionary years have elapsed since the great day 
of January 9, 1905. We have experienced long and painful 
periods of savage reaction. We have experienced brief 
"bright intervals" of liberty. We have experienced two 
great popular outbreaks of strikes and armed struggle. We 
have experienced one Duma and two general elections, 
which definitely determined the alignment of parties and 
caused an extremely sharp alignment among the popula- 
tion, which until recently had no conception of political 
parties whatsoever. 

During these two years, we have grown out of our faith — 
naive in some and crudely selfish in others — in the unity 
of the liberation movement, and have cast off many illu- 
sions of peaceful constitutional methods; we have gained 
experience in mass forms of struggle and have reached a 
point where we must employ the most stern and extreme 
method of struggle conceivable — that of the armed struggle 
of one part of the population against the other. The bour- 


geoisie and the landlords have become fierce and brutal. 
The man in the street is weary. The Russian intellectual 
is limp and despondent. The party of liberal windbags and 
liberal traitors, the Cadets, has raised its head, hoping to 
make capital out of the prevailing weariness born of the 
revolution, and claiming as its hegemony what is really its 
readiness, like Famusov, 48 to go to the utmost limits of 

But below, deep down among the proletarian masses and 
among the mass of the destitute, starving peasantry, the 
revolution has made headway, quietly and imperceptibly 
undermining the foundations, rousing the most somnolent 
with the thunder of civil war, galvanising the most lethar- 
gic with the rapid changes from "liberties" to bestial tyr- 
anny, from calm to parliamentary excitement, elections, 
mass meetings, and feverish "union" activity. 

As a result we have a new, even more Left Duma, and in 
prospect we have a new, even more formidable and more 
unmistakable revolutionary crisis. 

Even the blind must now see that it is a revolutionary 
and not a constitutional crisis that lies ahead of us. There 
can be no doubt about that. The days of the Russian con- 
stitution are numbered. A new clash is inexorably ap- 
proaching — either the revolutionary people will be victorious, 
or the Second Duma will disappear as ingloriously as the 
First, followed by the repeal of the election law and a re- 
turn to the Black-Hundred absolutism sans phrases. 

How petty our recent "theoretical" controversies have 
suddenly become in the glaring light of the rising sun of 
revolution! Are not the plaints of the miserable, frightened 
and faint-hearted intellectuals about the Black-Hundred 
danger in the elections ridiculous? Have not events brilliant- 
ly confirmed what we said in November (Proletary, No. 8): 
"By their outcry against the Black-Hundred danger, the 
Cadets are leading the Mensheviks by the nose in order to 
avert the danger from the Left"?* 

Revolution is a good teacher. It forces back on to the 
revolutionary track those who are continually going astray 
either from weakness of character or weakness of intellect. 

See present edition, Vol. 11, p. 314.— Ed. 



The Mensheviks wanted blocs with the Cadets, unity in 
the "opposition", the opportunity to "utilise the Duma 
as a whole". They did everything possible (and impossible 
too, to the extent of splitting the Party, as was the case in 
St. Petersburg) to create an all-liberal Duma. 

Nothing came of it. The revolution is stronger than op- 
portunists of little faith think. Under the hegemony of 
the Cadets, the revolution can only lie prone in the dust — it 
can triumph only under the hegemony of the Bolshevik 

The Duma is turning out to be exactly as we depicted 
it in our polemic with the Mensheviks in Proletary , No. 8 
(November 1906). It is a Duma of sharp extremes, a Duma 
in which the moderate and cautious mean has been swept 
away by the revolutionary torrent, a Duma of Krushevans 49 
and of the revolutionary people. The Bolshevik Social- 
Democrats will raise their banner in this Duma and say to the 
masses of the petty-bourgeois democrats what they said 
to them during the St. Petersburg elections: make your 
choice between Cadet haggling with the Stolypins, and 
joint struggle in the ranks of the people! We, the proletar- 
iat of all Russia, are marching to that struggle. All who 
want freedom for the people, and land for the peasants 
follow us! 

The Cadets already feel that the wind has changed, that 
the political barometer is falling rapidly. It is not surpris- 
ing that the Milyukovs have lost their nerve and, casting 
off all shame, have started howling — in the street — about 
"red rags" (in the sanctums of the Stolypins these creatures 
have always secretly abused the "red rag"). It is not sur- 
prising that today's Rech (February 7) refers to the "jumps" 
in the political barometer, to the government's vacillation 
"between the resignation of the Cabinet and some kind of 
pronunciamento, action by the Black Hundreds and the 
military, the very date of which has been fixed for the 
14th". And the desolated soul of the Russian liberal wails 
and sighs: What, again a "policy of spontaneous re- 

Yes, miserable heroes of miserably stagnant times! 
Revolution again\ We gladly welcome the approaching wave 
of the people's spontaneous wrath. But we shall do all in 


our power to make this new struggle as little spontaneous 
and as conscious, consistent, and steadfast as possible. 

The government set all the wheels of its machine in mo- 
tion long ago: violence, pogroms, barbarous atrocities, 
deception and stultification. And now all these wheels 
have come loose; everything has been tried, even the shell- 
ing of villages and towns The popular forces are not ex- 
hausted; on the contrary, they are now forming more and 
more widely, powerfully, openly and boldly. A Black- 
Hundred autocracy and — a Left Duma. The situation is 
undoubtedly a revolutionary one, and a struggle in the 
most acute form is undoubtedly inevitable. 

But it is precisely because of its inevitability that we 
must not force the pace, spur or goad it on. Leave that to 
the Krushevans and Stolypins. Our task is to reveal the 
truth to the proletariat and the peasantry clearly, directly 
and with unsparing candour, to open their eyes to the sig- 
nificance of the coming storm, to help them to meet the 
enemy in organised fashion, with the calmness of men 
marching to death, like soldiers in the trenches facing the 
foe, and ready at the first shots to dash into the attack. 

"Shoot first, Messrs. Bourgeois!" said Engels to the Ger- 
man capitalists in 1894. 50 And we say: "Shoot first, Kru- 
shevans and Stolypins, Orlovs and Romanovs!" Our task 
is to help the working class and the peasantry to crush the 
Black-Hundred autocracy when it hurls itself upon us of 
its own accord. 

Therefore — no premature calls for an insurrection! No 
solemn manifestos to the people. No pronunciamentos, no 
"proclamations". The storm is bearing down on us of its 
own accord. There is no need of sabre-rattling. 

We must get our weapons ready — in the literal and in 
the figurative sense. First of all, and above all, we must 
train a solid army of the proletariat, conscious of its pur- 
pose and strong in resolve. We must increase tenfold our 
work of agitation and organisation among the peasants — 
among those who are starving in the villages and among 
those who last autumn sent their sons to serve in the army, 
sons who experienced the great year of revolution. We 
must tear down all the ideological blinds and screens con- 
cealing the revolution, put an end to all doubts and vac- 



illation. We must say simply and calmly, in the plainest 
and most popular form, as loudly and distinctly as possible: 
a struggle is inevitable. The proletariat will accept battle. 
The proletariat will sacrifice everything, will throw all 
its forces into the fight for freedom. Let the ruined peas- 
antry, let the soldiers and sailors know that the fate of 
Russian freedom is about to be decided. 

Proletary, No. 13, 
February 11, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 



St. Petersburg, February 9, 1907. 

The Cadets have won the St. Petersburg elections. They 
have secured the election of 151 electors in 11 districts. 
The Left bloc has won in one district only — the Vyborg 
District — and has secured the election of 9 electors out of 160. 

The outstanding features of the elections in St. Peters- 
burg are: an increase in the percentage of those voting in 
nearly all districts, and the weakening of the Rights. The 
Cadets are at the top of the list, with 28,798 votes (counting 
the maximum numbers of votes cast for their candidates). 
The Left bloc takes second place, with 16,703 votes; the 
Octobrists come third, with 16,613 votes, the monarchists 
fourth with 5,270 votes. 

This, when compared with Moscow, is a big step for- 
ward. One district has been won. The Lefts have advanced 
from third to second place in the list. In Moscow, the votes 
cast for the Left bloc amounted to 13 per cent. The St. Pe- 
tersburg figure was nearly twice as high, i.e., 25 per cent. 

This, of course, was partly due to somewhat more exten- 
sive agitation, and to the political influence of the Duma 
general elections, which were far more favourable to the 
Left than had been expected. In Moscow not a single daily 
newspaper published lists of the Left bloc electors. In St. 
Petersburg several papers did so: it is said that Tovarishch 
has even increased its circulation very considerably since 
it "swung to the Left". In Moscow there were no informa- 
tion bureaus to help Left voters to fill in their ballot pa- 
pers. In St. Petersburg there were. In Moscow most of the 
petty-bourgeois townspeople believed the Cadet fable about 
the Black-Hundred danger. In St. Petersburg there were 



already unmistakable signs that this credulity of the petty 
bourgeoisie and the opportunists had been shaken. 

Here are the returns for each ward, taking in each case 
the maximum number of votes for the candidates on the 
respective election lists (figures taken from Rech). 

Highest vote for: 

"3 d.S 

Wards in the City 


a a 5-2 

of St. Petersburg 


eft bh 




adet < 
eft vo 

£ S B « 
d ? « « 
| £ 







— 1,753 







n o a 

— 734 












— 196 


Vasilyevsky Ost- 





— 364 


noznucb Lven&Ky 






/ ou 







Admiralty .... 





— 709 















Petersburg. . . . 





— 528 






+ 377 

Total . . . 





Total for five 
not hopeless 



These returns enable us to draw a number of interesting 

First of all, about the "Black-Hundred danger". The 
elections have proved that it was non-existent. Our re- 
peated declarations and warnings, reiterated by all Bol- 
shevik publications, including Ternii Truda 51 and Zreniye, 52 
have been fully confirmed. 

The Black Hundreds could not have won in St. Peters- 
burg, no matter how the votes had split between the Cadets 
and the Lefts! 

Moreover, even if the Octobrists and the monarchists 
had joined forces (an impossibility, especially in St. 



Petersburg, where the German Octobrists in the Vasilyevsky 
Ostrov District were on the point of quarrelling even with 
the Union of October Seventeenth), the Black Hundreds 
could not have won in St. Petersburg! This will be obvious 
to anyone who takes the trouble to make a very simple 
calculation from the figures given above. The total Cadet 
and Left vote (45,500) is more than twice the total Octobrist 
and monarchist vote (22,000). No conceivable distribution 
of votes among these four election lists, no "measures" 
taken by the Rights, could have created a Black-Hundred 

The petty bourgeoisie — the Narodniks and the oppor- 
tunist Social-Democrats — who caught up the Cadets' outcry 
about the Black-Hundred danger, were deceiving the people. 
We said so before the elections. The elections have proved 
that we were right. 

The spinelessness and political short-sightedness, char- 
acteristic of the petty-bourgeois intellectuals and philistines 
have revealed themselves in practice in St. Petersburg. 
Though not nearly to the same extent as in Moscow, the 
St. Petersburg elections were, nevertheless, elections by 
philistines, scared and deceived by the Cadets. All the elec- 
tion literature published in St. Petersburg, from Rech 
to Tovarishch, which latter faint-heartedly defended the 
Left bloc (apologising for its Left sympathies?), teems with 
evidence that the Cadets and their henchmen scared the 
man in the street with a phantom of their own invention — 
the possibility of a Black-Hundred danger arising out of 
the voting. 

The Cadets strove to ward off the danger threatening 
them from the Left, with an outcry about the Black-Hun- 
dred danger, while they themselves waited on Stolypin, and 
promised that they would be reasonable, become more 
loyal, and keep away from the Lefts. Stolypin himself has 
admitted, according to today's Tovarishch (February 9), 
that he knows something about this Cadet swing to the Right! 

Further, the St. Petersburg election results enable us to 
answer the question — what have we gained from these 
elections? Has our straightforward anti-Cadet propaganda 
succeeded in rousing new sections of hitherto indifferent 
voters and drawing them into political life? To what ex- 



tent have we alienated the petty bourgeoisie from the lib- 
erals in whose wake they followed, and won them over to 
the proletariat? 

To enable us to judge, let us first of all compare the Cadet 
and the Left votes (the maximum, as before) in 1906 and in 

Number of Votes {Maximum) 




vv dr as in me uity 01 ot. 

H R [fl * 




0) at sh fl 









r « ti o 

H ,o cc o 





+ 32 





+ 442 





— 72 





+ 197 

Vasilyevsky Ostrov .... 





+ 485 





+ 716 





+ 96 





— 352 





+ 678 





+ 1,165 





+ 1,090 





+ 413 






+ 4,890 

These figures very clearly reveal the proportion of votes 

;ast in 1906 and 1907 for the opposition and for the revo- 

lution. Of the seventeen thousand votes we polled (in round 
figures), we captured about twelve thousand from the Ca- 
dets and attracted five thousand from the hitherto indiffer- 
ent (partly boycotting) masses. 

What strikes one at once is the difference between the 
"hopeless" districts, i.e., those where, apparently, we 
could not have won in 1907, whatever effort we had made, 
and the districts that were not hopeless. The principle "hope- 
less" districts, for instance, were the Admiralty and the 
Liteiny. Here, the preponderance of Cadet votes over ours 
is enormous. What is it due to? 



The reason is obvious. The population of the first district 
consists of government officials; that of the second consists 
of the big bourgeoisie (this was pointed out before the elec- 
tions by Ternii Truda). The Social-Democrats, supported 
by the Trudoviks, could not have won where there is no trade 
and industrial proletariat, where there is a preponderance 
of civil servants. Even the number of voters who went to the 
polls in these districts declined — no interest was displayed! 
In these districts the only thing we did was capture about 
one-fourth of the Cadet votes for the Left bloc. 

At the other extreme there are the districts that are not 
hopeless, where the Social-Democrats, supported by the 
Trudoviks, roused a mass of new elements, and roused the 
urban poor from their apathy and somnolence, to polit- 
ical life. These are the Alexander-Nevsky and Petersburg 
wards. Here the gain in the cm£i-Black-Hundred vote, 
i.e., the Cadets and Lefts combined, is over one thousand 
in each district. Here most of the Left votes are new votes, 
not votes captured from the Cadets. The voice of struggle, 
the voice of the Social-Democrats and the Trudoviks has 
awakened those whom the unctuous voice of the Cadets 
could not rouse. 

In the Petersburg Ward we had only to capture 265 
votes from the Cadets for victory to have been ours. Clearly, 
265 added to 2,754 would have made victory quite possible. 
And it is also clear that the urban poor in these districts, 
by no means of the proletarian type — shop-assistants, cab 
drivers and small householders — rose in favour of the Lefts. 
It is obvious that the appeal issued by the Social-Democrats 
and supported by the Trudoviks was not made in vain, that 
a formidable number of the inhabitants of these districts 
are capable of going further than the Cadets, to the Left 
of the Cadets. 

In the Alexander-Nevsky Ward the struggle was in- 
comparably more difficult. To win there we would have had 
to capture 658 votes from the Cadets. Six hundred and fifty- 
eight in addition to 1,421 is rather a big figure, but still it 
is less than half. We have no right to regard as hopeless 
those districts in which we could have been victorious had 
we obtained fifty per cent more votes than we actually 



The Kolomna Ward could easily have been won: all 
we had to do was to capture 99 votes from the Cadets. In 
the Vasilyevsky Ostrov Ward, where the three main 
lists — Cadet, Octobrist and Left — each polled about an 
equal number of votes, we could have won if we had cap- 
tured 183 votes from the Cadets. In the Narva Ward we 
could have won if, we had captured 368 votes from the Ca- 

To sum up: the Left bloc in St. Petersburg undoubtedly 
won over to its side the shop-assistants and the urban petty 
bourgeoisie, roused a section of them to political life for 
the first time, and captured a very considerable section of 
them from the Cadets. 

The hopeless and despondent opinion that Social-Demo- 
cratic ideas are unintelligible to trade and industrial office 
employees in the intermediary stage when the Trudoviks 
support the socialists, has been fully refuted by the St. 
Petersburg elections. If we want to and set about it prop- 
erly, we can rouse for the political struggle hundreds and 
thousands of the urban poor in every district in the capi- 
tal. We can win, in every district, hundreds of shop-assist- 
ants, clerks, etc., from the party of the bourgeois liberals 
who are bargaining with Stolypin. If we work tirelessly in 
that direction, the influence of the treacherous Cadets over 
the urban poor will be broken. The Cadets will not survive 
another election struggle against the Left bloc in St. 
Petersburg! They will be completely routed under the 
present electoral law, if they go into battle again after 
months of "Stolypin" agitation and Milyukov haggling! 

Indeed, it is obvious that even in the present elections 
the Left bloc needed very little more to achieve a victory. 
The only hopeless districts were the Admiralty, Liteiny, 
Spassky, Rozhdestvensky, Kazan and Moscow. In these 
six districts we needed over fifty per cent more votes than 
we received in order to win, and this was hardly conceiv- 
able, however strenuously we might have conducted elec- 
tion agitation, distributed literature, etc. (or, rather, it 
was conceivable, but not under Stolypin's military-court 
manner of conducting free elections!). The first two of 
these districts were socially inaccessible to the Social- 
Democrats and the Trudoviks. The other four were acces- 



sible, but our activities among the trade and industrial 
office employees in those districts were still far too feeble. 

We captured one of the remaining six districts the first 
time we contested it as a Left bloc. In four we were from 
99 to 368 votes short of capturing them from the Cadets. 
In one we were 658 votes short. We had only to capture 
1,573 votes from the Cadets, in these five districts, and the 
Left bloc would have been victorious, would have won the 
whole of St. Petersburg] 

It is doubtful whether anyone will venture to say that 
it would have been too much for the Social-Democrats 
to capture 1,573 votes in five districts if they had worked 
unitedly, if the opportunists, who were bargaining with 
the Cadets, had not procrastinated so long in forming the 
Left bloc, or if the breakaway Mensheviks had not acted 
as blacklegs against the Left bloc. 

What is a blackleg? A blackleg is a man connected with 
the fighting proletariat, who tries to trip it up when it is 
engaged in the collective struggle. 

Does this definition fit the breakaway Mensheviks? Of 
course it does, for they subverted the unity of the Social- 
Democratic organisation in St. Petersburg, sowed discord 
in the ranks of the fighters, deserted to the Cadets at the 
height of the battle, and lastly, deliberately obstructed 
us even after the Left bloc was formed. Suffice it to recall 
that the Left bloc was formed on January 25, and on Jan- 
uary 28, the breakaway Mensheviks issued, in Tovarishch, 
an appeal to the voters in five districts to abstain from 
voting! On February 1 the same Mensheviks (Rech) pub- 
lished an appeal, in which they tried to frighten petty 
bourgeoisie with the bogey of the Black-Hundred danger! 

That is not all. In today's Rech, page 3, there is a report 
on the elections in the Petersburg District, in which we 
read that one of the ballot papers was marked: "7 abstain 
from voting. A Mensheviks 

Let the reader give thought to the significance of this! 

On January 28 the Mensheviks published, in Tovarishch, 
the resolutions of the executive body of the breakaway 
section. In Point VI of these resolutions, the Petersburg 
District was excluded from the list of districts where the 
Black-Hundred danger was supposed to have existed. 



Point VI stated expressly that an agreement with the 
Lefts was expedient in the Petersburg District. Point III 
stated expressly that even if no agreement was reached with 
the Lefts the Mensheviks called upon the voters to vote 
for the Lefts in those districts where there was no "obvious" 
Black-Hundred danger. And yet a "Menshevik" abstained 
from voting in the Petersburg District!! Then what did the 
breakaway Mensheviks do in other districts? 

After this, how can anybody fail to recognise the fact 
that it was blacklegging by a section of the Mensheviks 
that prevented the victory of the Left bloc in the St. 
Petersburg elections, where there was no Black-Hundred 
danger at all? 

Let the proletariat learn from the vacillations and treach- 
ery of the petty bourgeoisie. We shall always be the first 
to unfurl our flag boldly and resolutely. We shall always 
urge the petty bourgeoisie to throw off the tutelage of the 
liberals and come over to the side of the proletariat. And these 
tactics — the only revolutionary, proletarian tactics in a 
bourgeois revolution — will bring us victory at every re- 
vival of the mass political struggle. 

Saratov, Nizhni-Novgorod — the first victory; Moscow, 
St. Petersburg — the first attack. Enough, gentlemen of 
the Cadet Party! The deception of the urban poor by the 
liberal landlords and the bourgeois lawyers is coming to 
an end. Let the Stolypins and the Milyukovs sneer at 
the "red rag". The Social-Democrats are standing at their 
post, keeping the red flag flying in the sight of all toilers 
and all the exploited. 

Proletary, No. 13, 
February 11, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 




The speaker pointed out that the question of Duma 
tactics was undoubtedly the central policy question at that 
time, and was therefore the main point around which the 
congress campaign would revolve. Two of the questions 
that the Central Committee had included in its proposed 
congress agenda, as reported in the newspapers, were 
brought into the foreground — that of immediate political 
tasks and that of the State Duma. 

The first question, he said, had been formulated very 
vaguely. The Mensheviks may have taken it to mean support 
for a Cadet ministry, but did not care to say so openly. At 
all events they had shown a noticeable desire to shelve 
once again the fundamental questions of Social-Democratic 
tactics in the Russian revolution, just as they had done 
at the Fourth (Unity) Congress. By that time, experience 
too had taught them that if these questions were evaded 
the Social-Democrats would have no consistent party tac- 
tics of any sort. It would be sufficient to recall that the 
Central Committee's tactics on the question of supporting 
the Duma (i.e., Cadet) ministry (June 1906) failed to 
receive the backing, not only of the Party in general, but 
of the Social-Democratic group in the Duma in particular. 
After the dissolution of the Duma, the famous "partial 
mass expressions of protest", proposed by the Central Com- 
mittee, had shared the same fate. The attitude towards 



the Cadets in the elections was then so uncertain in the 
Party that among the most influential and responsible 
Mensheviks — a special opinion was expressed — by Cherevanin 
before the All-Russian Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. in 
November (1906), and by Plekhanov (not to mention Va- 
silyev) after it. 

Such being the situation, it was the duty of revolutionary 
Social-Democrats to take advantage of full representation 
at the Fifth Party Congress, where the Poles, Letts and 
Bundists would be represented for the first time, in order 
to raise fundamental questions of the tactics of Social- 
Democracy in the Russian bourgeois revolution. It would 
be no use discussing "immediate political tasks" without 
first clearing up the basic questions — the tasks of the pro- 
letariat in our revolution in general, whether objective 
conditions existed for the further development of the rev- 
olution, the alignment of classes and parties at the time 
and, especially, the class character of the Cadet Party. 
Unless these questions were settled — and that would be 
facilitated by the wealth of experience gained from the 
First Duma and the elections to the Second — it would be 
impossible to find a principled and intelligent solution to 
the problem of the Cadet ministry, that of the tactics to be 
pursued in the event of the dissolution of the Second Duma, 
etc., etc. 

The speaker therefore went on to cover these questions 
briefly. The economic conditions of the masses of the pop- 
ulation offered clear evidence that the fundamental aims 
of the revolution had not been accomplished; an objective 
basis for immediate mass movements existed. This was 
reflected, in politics, in an intensification of the conflict 
between the autocracy, which was then coming to an un- 
derstanding with the organised Black-Hundred landlords, 
and the masses — not only of the proletariat but also of the 
rural poor (after the worker curia, the peasant curia had 
yielded the largest percentage of Left electors!), and the 
urban poor (Cadet hegemony over the petty-bourgeois urban 
democrats had undoubtedly been seriously shaken by the 
elections to the Second Duma). It therefore followed that a 
revolutionary, and not a constitutional crisis was approach- 
ing, and that the struggle inside the Duma was, owing 



to objective conditions, again engendering a struggle out- 
side the Duma, the transition to which would be accelerated 
if the activities of the Social-Democrats and bourgeois 
democrats inside the Duma were successful. It was the task 
of the proletariat, as leader in the democratic revolution, 
to develop the revolutionary consciousness, determination 
and organisation of the masses, and to free the petty bour- 
geoisie from the leadership of the liberals. Support for a 
liberal ministry, ostensibly responsible to the Duma but 
actually dependent on the Black-Hundred tsarist gang, was 
out of the question. The possibility of utilising such a 
ministry (supposing it proved a reality and not an empty 
promise to fool the Cadets, like Stolypin's promise to le- 
galise the Cadets, made in January 1907 to keep the Cadets 
from entering into blocs with the Lefts) would depend en- 
tirely on the strength of the revolutionary classes, their 
political consciousness and solidarity. 

As far as the class character of the various parties was 
concerned, the past year had been universally marked by 
the rightward swing of the upper classes and the leftward 
swing of the lower classes. The Centre was growing weaker 
and being eroded by the flood of advancing revolutionary 
development. The Black Hundreds bad gained strength 
and were better organised; they had established close rela- 
tions with one of the strongest economic class forces of old 
Russia — the feudal landlords. The Octobrists were still 
the party of the counter-revolutionary big bourgeoisie. 
The Cadets had made a sweeping swing to the Right. It 
was becoming more and more evident that their mainstay 
was the liberal (middle) landlords, the middle bourgeoisie 
and the top bourgeois intelligentsia. They carried the 
urban poor with them by force of tradition, deceiving them 
with loud-sounding phrases about "the people's freedom". 
The elections to the Second Duma had proved directly that 
the Lefts, even under most adverse conditions, had to a 
very large extent captured the "lower section" of urban 
democrats from the Cadets, at the very first onslaught. 

The Cadets had shifted to the Right, towards the Octo- 
brists. The democratic petty bourgeoisie in the towns, 
and still more in the country, had gained greater strength 
and had gone more to the Left than the rest. The speaker 



recalled that up to the spring of 1906 this petty bourgeoisie- 
had had no extensive political experience of legal party 
organisation. Considerable experience had now been 
gained — beginning with that of the Trudoviks in the First 
Duma to that of the unexpectedly large number of "Lefts" 
and "Trudoviks" elected to the Second Duma. 

The Bolshevik view that the Russian revolution could 
not be achieved by the liberals but only by the proletar- 
iat, if it succeeded in winning the peasant masses to its 
side, had been remarkably well confirmed by the experience 
of 1906 and 1907. 

The Duma tactics of revolutionary Social-Democracy 
emerged logically from these premises. Social-Democrats 
would have to regard the Duma as one of the instruments 
of the revolution and resolutely, openly and clearly unfurl 
their consistent, proletarian revolutionary banner in full 
view of the masses. They would have to engage in agitation, 
propaganda, and organisation to develop the revolution 
and explain to the masses that another great struggle out- 
side the Duma would be inevitable. The Cadet phrases about 
"blowing up the Duma" were a vile provocation on the part 
of a liberal who had secret talks with Stolypin. Don't 
"blow up" the Duma, don't allow the Duma to be dissolved — 
these phrases meant "do nothing that would be too unpleas- 
ant for Stolypin & Co.". The Social-Democrats would have 
to expose the provocative nature of this police-like Cadet 
catchword and show that even in the First Duma the con- 
duct of the Social-Democratic Party (Bolsheviks and Men- 
sheviks alike) had made all artificial revolutionary "paths", 
"proclamations", etc., impossible. The Cadets knew this 
and in true Novoye Vremya style were substituting 
"blowing-up" tactics for the tactics of developing a mass, 
people's revolution. 

The Social-Democrats in the Duma would have to do the 
same as they had done in the St. Petersburg elections — 
unfurl their revolutionary banner, compel the vacillating 
petty bourgeoisie to choose between them and the Cadets, 
and consent, in periods of decisive action, to partial agree- 
ments in particular cases with those petty-bourgeois 
democrats who would follow them against the Black Hundreds 
and the Cadets. After explaining the significance of the 



"Left bloc" in the Duma and the conditions under which it 
should be formed, the speaker voiced a strong warning 
against regarding it as a permanent agreement that would 
in any way tie the hands of the Social-Democrats, or as 
a long-term agreement concluded against future contin- 
gencies. There would have been no Left bloc in the St. 
Petersburg elections if the Social-Democrats there had bound 
themselves by a permanent agreement or even by a provi- 
sional agreement with the Narodniks, all of whom, even 
the "revolutionary" Socialist-Revolutionaries, had gone 
with the Mensheviks to the Cadets to sell out democracy! 
Only by pursuing a firm and independent policy, and not 
by diplomacy and petty bargaining, could the Social- 
Democrats secure, where necessary, the co-operation of 
those elements of the democratic bourgeoisie that are really 
capable of fighting. 


The speaker opposed this in his concluding speech. 54 
On the one hand, even during the most militant actions the 
Social-Democrats would absolutely have to remain a free 
and independent party with its own organisation even in 
the "joint" Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies, etc. 
On the other hand, they could not commit the error of the 
Mensheviks, whose conception of a "political bloc" was 
something opposed to a "fighting alliance", because all 
agreements are permissible only within the limits of a 
certain political line. Of course, in opposing the Cadets on a 
given question, the Social-Democrats in the Duma could 
not reject agreements with the Lefts, if the latter followed 
the Social-Democrats on that question and if such an 
agreement were essential to gain a parliamentary victory 
over the Cadets (e.g., to amend a law, to delete some par- 
ticularly objectionable passage from an address, declara- 
tion or decision, etc.). But it would be folly and a crime 
for Social-Democrats to tie their hands by means of any- 
thing like permanent and restricting agreements with anyone. 

Proletary, No. 14, 
March 4, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 


Written on February 15-18 
(February 28-March 3), 1907 

Published in Proletary , Published according 

No. 14, March 4, 1907 to the newspaper text 




1. the economic crisis which Russia is now experiencing 
shows no signs of early abatement, and in its protracted 
course is continuing to create unemployment on an enormous 
scale in the towns and starvation in the villages; 

2. as a result of this, the class struggle between the pro- 
letariat and the bourgeoisie, between the landlords and the 
peasantry, and also between the government-bribed peasant 
bourgeoisie and the poor villagers, is becoming more acute; 

3. the political history of Russia during the past year, 
from the First Duma to the new elections, reveals a rapid 
increase of political consciousness in all classes, which is 
reflected in the enormous strengthening of the extreme 
parties, in the dissipation of constitutional illusions and 
in the weakening of the "Centre", i.e., the liberal-bourgeois 
Cadet Party, which is striving to halt the revolution by 
offering concessions acceptable to the Black-Hundred land- 
lords and the autocracy; 

4. the policy of the Constitutional-Democratic Party 
directed towards the achievement of this purpose will 
release only a minimum of the productive forces of bourgeois 
society, will not in any way satisfy the elementary needs 
of the proletariat and of the mass of the peasantry, and will 
necessitate the constant forcible suppression of these masses; 

This conference declares: 

1. that the political crisis that is developing before our 
eyes is not a constitutional but a revolutionary crisis leading 
to a direct struggle of the proletarian and the peasant 
masses against the autocracy; 



2. that the forthcoming Duma campaign must therefore 
be regarded merely as one of the episodes in the people's 
revolutionary struggle for power, and must be utilised as 

3. that, as the party of the advanced class, the Social- 
Democratic Party cannot under any circumstances at pres- 
ent support the Cadet policy in general or a Cadet min- 
istry in particular. The Social-Democrats must bend every 
effort to expose the treacherous nature of this policy to the 
masses; they must explain to them the revolutionary tasks 
confronting them; they must show the masses that only 
when they attain a high level of political consciousness 
and are strongly organised can possible concessions by the 
autocracy be converted from an instrument of deception 
and corruption into an instrument for the further de- 
velopment of the revolution. 


1. the Social-Democrats are now faced with the particu- 
larly urgent task of defining the class character of the 
various non-proletarian parties, of assessing present class 
relations, and, accordingly, of defining their attitude to- 
wards other parties; 

2. the Social-Democrats have always recognised the 
necessity of supporting every opposition and revolutionary 
movement against the present social and political order 
in Russia; 

3. it is the duty of Social-Democrats to do all in their 
power to enable the proletariat to act as the leader in the 
bourgeois-democratic revolution; 

This conference declares: 

1. that the Black-Hundred parties (the Union of the 
Russian People, the monarchists, the Council of the United 
Nobility, 56 etc.) are coming out more and more resolutely 
and definitely as the class organisation of the feudal-minded 
landowners, and are with increasing arrogance robbing 
the people of their revolutionary gains, thereby causing an 
inevitable intensification of the revolutionary struggle; 
the Social-Democratic Party must expose the close link 


between these parties and tsarism and the interests of big 
feudal landownership, and explain to the masses that an 
uncompromising struggle must be waged for the complete 
abolition of these relics of barbarism; 

2. that such parties as the Union of October Seventeenth, 
the Commercial and Industrial Party, and to a certain ex- 
tent the Party of Peaceful Renovation, etc., are class or- 
ganisations of a section of the landowners and particularly 
of the big commercial and industrial bourgeoisie, which 
have not yet definitely come to terms with the autocratic 
bureaucracy on the division of power under a thoroughly 
undemocratic constitution of some sort based on a prop- 
erty qualification, but which have gone over entirely to 
the side of the counter-revolution and are manifestly sup- 
porting the government*; the Social-Democratic Party 
[while taking advantage of the conflicts between these 
parties and the Black-Hundred autocracy to develop the 
revolution] must [at the same time] carry on a most relent- 
less struggle against these parties; 

3. that the parties of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie, 
and their principal party, the Cadets, have now definitely 
turned away from the revolution, and are seeking to halt 
it by coming to terms with the counter-revolution; that 
the economic basis of these parties is provided by a section 
of the middle landlords and the middle bourgeoisie, espe- 
cially the bourgeois intelligentsia, while a section of the 
urban and rural petty-bourgeois democrats still follow 
these parties merely by force of tradition and because they 
are deliberately deceived by the liberals; that the ideal 
of these parties does not go beyond a bourgeois society of 
law and order, protected from the encroachments of the 
proletariat by a monarchy, police, a two-chamber parlia- 
mentary system, a standing army and so forth; the Social- 
Democrats must use the activities of these parties for the 
political education of the people, counteract their hypo- 

* Wording proposed by the minority: "...of the bourgeoisie which 
have entirely gone over to the side of the counter-revolution, are 
manifestly supporting the government, and whose object is to se- 
cure a thoroughly undemocratic constitution based on a property 



critically democratic phraseology by consistent proletarian 
democracy, expose the constitutional illusions which 
they are spreading, and ruthlessly fight against their 
leadership of the democratic petty bourgeoisie; 

4. that the Narodnik or Trudovik parties (the Popular 
Socialists, the Trudovik Group, the Socialist-Revolution- 
aries) come more or less close to expressing the interests 
and viewpoint of the broad masses of the peasantry and 
urban petty bourgeoisie, wavering between submission to 
the leadership of the liberals and a determined struggle 
against landed proprietorship and the feudal state; these 
parties hide their essentially bourgeois-democratic aims be- 
hind a more or less vague socialist ideology; the Social- 
Democrats must persistently expose their pseudo-socialist 
character and combat their efforts to obliterate the class 
distinction between the proletarian and the small proprie- 
tor; at the same time they must exert every effort to free 
these parties from the influence and leadership of the lib- 
erals, and compel them to choose between the policy of the 
Cadets and that of the revolutionary proletariat and thus 
compel them to side with the Social-Democrats against the 
Black Hundreds and the Cadets; 

5. the joint action ensuing herefrom must preclude all 
possibility of deviation from the Social-Democratic pro- 
gramme and tactics, and must serve only for the purpose of 
making a united and simultaneous onslaught against reac- 
tion and against the treacherous liberal bourgeoisie. 

Note: The words in square brackets are those deleted by 
the minority, which proposed the amended wording quoted 



1. the democratic revolution in Russia is heading for a 
new upswing; the big capitalist and landlord class is taking 
the side of counter-revolution, while new strata of the 
petty bourgeoisie and the peasantry, following the ex- 
ample of the proletariat, are coming over to the revolu- 


2. the class interests of the proletariat in the bourgeois 
revolution are such that conditions must be created for 
the most successful struggle for socialism against the 
propertied classes; 

3. the only possible way to create and secure these con- 
ditions is to carry the democratic revolution to its comple- 
tion, i.e., to win a democratic republic, the complete 
sovereignty of the people and the minimum of social and 
economic gains necessary for the proletariat (the eight- 
hour day and other demands of the Social-Democratic 
minimum programme); 

4. only the proletariat can bring the democratic revolu- 
tion to its consummation, the condition being that the 
proletariat, as the only thoroughly revolutionary class 
in modern society, leads the mass of the peasantry, and 
imparts political consciousness to its struggle against 
landed proprietorship and the feudal state; 

5. the role of leader in the democratic revolution pro- 
vides the proletariat with the greatest opportunity to im- 
prove its social and economic position, develop its class- 
consciousness in every way, and pursue its class activities 
not only in the economic, but also in the wide political 

This conference declares: 

1. that the main task of the proletariat at the present 
moment of history is to consummate the democratic revo- 
lution in Russia; 

2. that any belittling of this task will inevitably have 
the result of converting the working class from the leader 
of the people's revolution, carrying with it the mass of 
the democratic peasantry, into a passive participant of 
the revolution, trailing behind the liberal-monarchist 

3. that all organisations of the Party must guide the 
activities of the proletariat in carrying out this task, with- 
out for a moment losing sight of the independent social- 
ist aims of the proletariat. 




1. The correctness of the tactics of boycotting the State 
Duma, which helped the masses to make a proper apprais- 
al of the impotence and lack of independence of this in- 
stitution, was fully confirmed by the farcical legislative 
activities of the First State Duma and by its dissolution; 

2. however, the counter-revolutionary behaviour of the 
bourgeoisie and the compromising tactics of the Russian 
liberals prevented the immediate success of the boycott 
and compelled the proletariat to accept battle with the 
landlord and bourgeois counter-revolution, using the arena 
of the Duma campaign as well; 

3. the Social-Democrats must wage this struggle, out- 
side the Duma and within the Duma, to develop the class- 
consciousness of the proletariat, strengthen and expand 
its organisation, further expose constitutional illusions 
in the eyes of the people, and promote the development of 
the revolution; 

4. the Social-Democrats' immediate political tasks in 
the forthcoming Duma campaign are: (1) to make clear to 
the people the complete unfitness of the Duma as a means 
of realising the demands of the proletariat and of the rev- 
olutionary petty bourgeoisie, especially of the peasantry; 
(2) to make clear to the people the impossibility of achiev- 
ing political freedom by parliamentary means as long as 
real power remains in the hands of the tsarist government; 
to make clear the necessity of insurrection, of a provisional 
revolutionary government, and of a constituent assembly 
elected on the basis of universal, direct and equal suffrage 
and a secret ballot; 

5. to carry out its fundamental socialist, as well as im- 
mediate political, tasks, the Social-Democratic Party, 
as the class party of the proletariat, must remain absolutely 
independent, must form a Social-Democratic group in the 
Duma, and should under no circumstances merge its slo- 
gans or tactics with those of any other oppositional or 
revolutionary party; 

6. with particular reference to the activities of the rev- 
olutionary Social-Democrats in the Duma, the following 


questions, which are being raised by the whole course of 
political life at the present moment, must be clarified: 

(1) as one of our Party organisations, the Social-Demo- 
cratic group in the Duma should see its primary function 
in carrying on work of criticism, propaganda, agitation 
and organisation. This, and not immediate "legislative." 
objectives, should be the purpose of the bills the Social- 
Democratic group will introduce in the Duma, particularly 
on such questions as improving the standard of living, 
securing freedom for the class struggle of the proletariat, 
overthrowing the feudal yoke of the landlords in the rural 
districts, giving aid to the starving peasants, combating 
unemployment, releasing the sailors and soldiers from the 
slave conditions at army barracks, etc.; 

(2) the tsarist government will certainly not surrender 
its positions until the decisive victory of the revolutionary 
people has been achieved and, consequently, a conflict 
between the Duma and the government is inevitable what- 
ever tactics the Duma pursues, other than treacherous 
sacrifice of the people's interests to the Black Hundreds; 
the Social-Democratic group and the Social-Democratic 
Party, taking into consideration only the course of the rev- 
olutionary crisis that is developing outside of the Duma 
as a consequence of objective conditions, must, therefore, 
neither promote premature conflicts nor artificially avert or 
postpone a conflict by modifying their slogans, for this 
would only discredit the Social-Democrats in the eyes of the 
masses and cut them off from the revolutionary struggle 
of the proletariat; 

(3) exposing the bourgeois nature of all the non-proletarian 
parties and opposing all their Duma bills, etc., with their 
own, the Social-Democrats must constantly fight against 
Cadet leadership in the movement for freedom, and compel 
the democratic petty bourgeoisie to choose between the 
hypocritical democracy of the Cadets and the consistent 
democracy of the proletariat. 





1. a number of facts testify to the extreme intensifica- 
tion of destitution among the proletariat and also of its 
economic struggle (the lock-out in Poland, the movement 
among the workers, of St. Petersburg and Ivanovo-Vozne- 
sensk against the high cost of living, the extensive strike 
movement in the Moscow industrial area, the urgent calls 
of the trade union organisations to prepare for an intense 
struggle, etc.); 

2. all signs go to show that these various manifestations 
of the economic struggle are accumulating to such an ex- 
tent that there is every reason to expect mass, economic 
action all over the country, involving far larger sections 
of the proletariat than before; 

3. the whole history of the Russian revolution shows 
that all the powerful upsurges of the revolutionary move- 
ment began only on the basis of such mass economic move- 

This conference declares: 

1. that all Party organisations must pay most serious 
attention to these circumstances, collect fuller information 
about them, and that this question should be put on the 
agenda of the Fifth Party Congress; 

2. that the greatest possible number of Party members 
must be concentrated on economic agitation among the 

3. that this economic movement must be regarded as the 
main source and foundation of the entire revolutionary 
crisis that is developing in Russia. 



1. in connection with Comrade Axelrod's agitation for 
a non-Party labour congress, a trend (represented by Larin, 
Shcheglo, El, Ivanovsky, Mirov, and the Odessa publica- 


tion Osvobozhdeniye Truda) has appeared in the ranks 
of the R.S.D.L.P., the aim of which is to destroy the 
Social-Democratic Labour Party and to set up in its 
place a non-party political organisation of the prole- 

2. besides this, outside of and actually against the Party, 
anarcho-syndicalist agitation is being carried on among 
the proletariat, using this same slogan of a non-party la- 
bour congress and non-party organisations (Soyuznoye 
Dyelo and its group in Moscow, the anarchist press in Odessa, 

3. notwithstanding the resolution passed by the Novem- 
her All-Russian Conference of the R.S.D.L.P., a series of 
disruptive actions has been observed in our Party, with the 
object of setting up non-party organisations; 

4. on the other hand, the R.S.D.L.P. has never ro- 
nounced its intention of utilising certain non-party organisa- 
tions, such as the Soviets of Workers' Deputies, in periods 
of more or less intense revolutionary upheaval, to extend 
Social-Democratic influence among the working class and 
to strengthen the Social-Democratic labour movement (see 
the September resolutions of the St. Petersburg Committee 
and the Moscow Committee on the labour congress, in Pro- 
letary, Nos. 3 and 4 57 ); 

5. the incipient revival creates the opportunity to organ- 
ise or utilise non-party representative working-class in- 
stitutions, such as Soviets of Workers' Deputies, Soviets 
of Workers' Delegates, etc., for the purpose of developing 
the Social-Democratic movement; at the same time the 
Social-Democratic Party organisations must bear in mind 
that if Social-Democratic activities among the proletarian 
masses are properly, effectively and widely organised, such 
institutions may actually become superfluous; 

This conference declares: 

1. that a most determined ideological struggle must 
be waged against the anarcho-syndicalist movement among 
the proletariat and against Axelrod's and Larin's ideas in 
the Social-Democratic Party; 

2. that a most determined struggle must be waged against 
all disruptive and demagogic attempts to weaken the 
R.S.D.L.P. from within or to utilise it for the purpose of 



substituting non-party political, proletarian organisations 
for the Social-Democratic Party; 

3. that Social-Democratic Party organisations may, in 
case of necessity, participate in inter-party Soviets of 
Workers' Delegates, Soviets of Workers' Deputies, and in 
congresses of representatives of these organisations, and 
may organise such institutions, provided this is done on 
strict Party lines for the purpose of developing and strength- 
ening the Social-Democratic Labour Party; 

4. that for the purpose of extending and strengthening 
the influence of the Social-Democratic party among the 
broad masses of the proletariat, it is essential, on the one 
hand, to increase efforts to organise trade unions and con- 
duct Social-Democratic propaganda and agitation within 
them, and, on the other hand, to draw still larger sections 
of the working class into the activities of all types of Party 




The last Congress of Russian Social-Democracy, held 
in Stockholm in April 1906, decided that the Social-Dem- 
ocrats should not conclude any election agreements with 
bourgeois parties. This principle was immediately applied 
in the elections to the First Duma in Siberia and the Cau- 
casus. Would it be equally valid for the Second Duma? 
The Bolsheviks said "Yes", the Mensheviks said "No". The 
Bolsheviks demanded an extraordinary congress to decide 
the question. At the beginning of November, only a con- 
ference was held, at which all Party organisations were 
represented. The Mensheviks, jointly with the Bund, sup- 
ported a proposal on an agreement with the Cadets in the 
forthcoming elections. The Bolsheviks, jointly with the 
Letts and Poles, condemned such an agreement. The pro- 
posal of the former obtained 18 votes, that of the latter, 14 
votes. The conference decided that local organisations 
must state their own views on the question. "Let it be in 
St. Petersburg as elsewhere", the Bolsheviks deliberately 
told the Mensheviks. 

Two things must be understood: on the one hand, the 
Mensheviks, notwithstanding their name, have a majority 
in the Central Committee of the Party — in other words they 
are the masters of its general policy; on the other hand, 
the Bolsheviks have a majority in the St. Petersburg and 
Moscow Gubernia Committees. To have the two metropol- 
itan cities against it, is a difficult and humiliating situa- 



tion for the Central Committee. This explains the attempt 
on the part of the Central Committee to put through a Men- 
shevik policy in St. Petersburg and Moscow at any cost. 
For the elections in St. Petersburg the Central Committee 
took the risk of infringing local autonomy by provoking a 
split as soon as an excuse was found. 

The St. Petersburg organisation has not yet held the 
gubernia conference that was envisaged by the All-Russian 
Conference in November. For a long time the liberal news- 
papers have been conducting a lively discussion of election 
tactics. They were afraid that the socialists would act 
without them and muster the masses, without them and 
against them, around the banner of the revolution. They 
fulminated against the Bolsheviks, persistently qualifying 
them as "sectarians, dogmatists, Blanquists, anarchists, etc.", 
but they wanted to conduct the election campaign jointly 
with the other revolutionary parties, and put up a joint 
election list with them. They have the biggest St. Peters- 
burg newspapers, so it was easy for them to make them- 
selves heard. The Bolsheviks had only their illegal newspaper 
Proletary at their disposal, which is published abroad and 
appears only twice monthly. 

In secret and through their underground connections, 
the Menshevik Central Committee informed the Cadets that 
the Social-Democrats' tactics depended on their committee 
alone, and not on the Bolshevik Gubernia Committee. This 
was revealed at an informatory conference held early in 
January and attended by representatives of the Cadets, 
the Popular Socialists, the Trudoviks, the Socialist-Revo- 
lutionaries and the Social-Democrats. All were in favour 
of a joint election list. All — except the delegate from the 
Gubernia Committee who announced, after the conference, 
that the committee would take a decision only some days 
later. Then the delegate from the Central Committee in- 
tervened. "It would be better," he stated, "if the agreement 
were not concluded by the organisation as a whole but by 
each election ward separately [there are 12 such wards in 
St. Petersburg]." 

"But this is the first I hear of such a proposal!" the dele- 
gate from the Gubernia Committee replied. "Is this the 
plan of the Central Committee?" 


"No, it is my own idea," answered the delegate from the 
Central Committee. 

To one who understands, half a word is enough. The 
Cadets understood. Rech (official organ of the Cadet Party), 
Tovarishch (organ of the Left Cadets, something like the 
Millerand-Socialists), and Strana (organ of the Party of 
Democratic Reform 59 ) all announced that the Mensheviks 
constitute the reasonable part, the model part, the decent 
part of Social-Democracy. The Bolsheviks represent bar- 
barism. They prevent socialism from becoming civilised 
and parliamentary. But it has been announced in the pres- 
ence of Milyukov, the leader of the Cadets, that the Bol- 
sheviks would act separately. 

The St. Petersburg Conference that was to decide the 
question of election tactics was held on January 6. It was 
attended by 39 Bolsheviks and 31 Mensheviks. The latter 
at first challenged the correctness of the credentials. 
Though they dared not claim a majority, this did, however, 
serve them as a pretext for walking out of the Conference. 
Their second pretext: they demanded, in accordance with 
the proposal of the Central Committee of January 4, that the 
organisation divide into two parts for a decision on the 
question of election tactics — that there should be separate 
conferences for St. Petersburg City and St. Petersburg 
Gubernia. To anybody who knows the St. Petersburg So- 
cial-Democratic organisation, based partly on place of res- 
idence, partly on the national principle (the Lettish and 
the Estonian sections) or on the principle of employment 
(the military and the railwaymen's sections), this was not 
only a contravention of the organisation's autonomy, but 
even, in certain respects, contrary to common sense. The Con- 
ference, therefore, declared itself against this proposal, 
which did not in any way accord with its principles and, 
moreover, had been put to it as imperative. 

The thirty-one delegates walked out of the Conference, 
and the Central Committee announced that the minority was 
relieved of the necessity of submitting to the decision of 
the majority. This was not merely a challenge, but the 
Central Committee's announcement of a split. 

The thirty-one organised their own separate committee 
and participated in the negotiations that the Cadets were 



conducting with the Left bloc of Trudoviks, Popular So- 
cialists and Socialist-Revolutionaries. However, the ap- 
pearance of a new actor on the stage upset the deal. On 
January 4, Novoye Vremya published an article by the 
Octobrist Stolypin, brother of the minister. "If the Cadets 
had the courage to make a complete break with the revolu- 
tionary groups and take a firm stand on constitutional 
ground, their party would be legalised," he wrote. A few 
days later (January 15), Milyukov called on Minister Sto- 
lypin, and two days after his visit all Cadet newspapers 
reported that the Cadets had broken off negotiations with 
the Left. But this game brought the Cadets no advantage; 
they had only seriously but unnecessarily compromised 
themselves. They were unable to accept Stolypin's con- 

As for the Mensheviks, they compromised themselves at 
the same time, no less seriously and just as unnecessarily. 
At first, despite Milyukov's visit to Stolypin, they con- 
tinued their talks with the Cadets and with the Left groups. 
It was only on January 18 that the Conference took place at 
which the split occurred and at which they were unable to 
come to an agreement on the distribution of seats for the 
deputies. Furthermore in that same period, Rech wrote 
that in order to alienate the Bolsheviks the Cadets were 
giving the Mensheviks the seat that had been promised 
the worker curia, and the Mensheviks did nothing by way 
of protest against this extraordinary method of trafficking 
in workers' votes. Far from it! The Central Committee con- 
tinued bargaining with the Cadets, which meant consenting 
to their terms. It was this fact that aroused the workers' 
indignation! It was this selfsame fact that made me write 
my pamphlet "The Hypocrisy of the Thirty-One Menshe- 
viks",* for which the latter want to arraign me before a 
Party tribunal. 

After the Conference of January 6, at which the split 
occurred, the Bolsheviks declared: "If the Lefts, including 
the Mensheviks, conclude an alliance with the Cadets, we 
shall wage the struggle alone. If the negotiations end in a 
breakdown, we, in our turn, will propose the terms of an 

See pp. 33-34 of this volume.— Ed. 


agreement, and the acceptance of these terms will mean 
for them the acceptance of the principle of proletarian he- 

The negotiations between the Lefts and the Cadets ended 
in a breakdown (the Conference of January 18); this was 
our first victory. We proposed terms for a Left bloc that 
would not enter into a deal with the Cadet Party; these 
terms were accepted on January 25 by all except the Men- 
sheviks. This was the second victory. Of the six places in 
St. Petersburg, we proposed two for the worker curia, two 
for the Social-Democrats, and two for the other parties. 
And it was obvious that the worker curia would elect two 
Social-Democrats. Fifteen days still remained to election 
day, but something happened then that the Cadets had not 
expected — in addition to the Black-Hundred list, the Octob- 
rist list, and the Cadet list, there appeared the election 
list of a Left bloc including neither Cadets nor Mensheviks. 

At their previous conferences with the Left parties, the 
Cadets had offered the Lefts two seats, while the Lefts 
had claimed three. When the Cadets saw that our Left bloc 
had been formed against them, they took fright and entered 
in their list only three candidates from their party. Of 
the other three places they offered one to Professor Kova- 
levsky (Party of Democratic Reform), the second to the 
priest Petrov (a very popular demagogue, a Christian Dem- 
ocrat) and the third to the workers. They made this last 
concession, incidentally, in order to prevent a storm of 
indignation among the people. 

The Cadets won the elections, but it must be stressed 
that the Left bloc polled 25 per cent of the total number 
of votes in St. Petersburg and that they were victorious 
in the Vyborg District. In many districts the Cadets won 
by a very small majority. In five districts it would have 
been enough to gain a further 1,000 votes to ensure a vic- 
tory for the Left bloc; in Kolomna District the Lefts were 
short of only 99 votes. The Mensheviks, therefore, prevent- 
ed a victory of the Left parties in St. Petersburg; never- 
theless, the revolutionary Left is, in general, stronger in 
the Second Duma than it was in the First. 

The experiment we have conducted has been highly in- 
structive. First, we see that the St. Petersburg workers 



persist in remaining Bolsheviks, stoutly determined to 
defend the autonomy of their organisation against en- 
croachment by the Central Committee. Then, we now know 
what we ought to think of the Black-Hundred danger, an 
argument that was dragged out into the open to justify an 
agreement with the Cadets during the first stage of the 
elections. This is nothing but an invention to deceive the 
socialist parties and protect the Cadets from the Left danger. 
For, indeed, "the real danger to the Cadets is from the Left", 
as Rech was once forced to admit. "Whoever votes for the 
Left makes it possible for the Rights to break through," 
the Cadet newspapers hammered away at us for weeks. This 
slogan provided them with a means of planting doubt 
among the wavering. By their bold campaign they brought 
about a situation in which the Left bloc obtained fewer 
votes (13 per cent) in Moscow than in St. Petersburg, be- 
cause we had no newspaper of our own in Moscow. But they 
could not prevent the revelation of the incontestable truth — 
the Black-Hundred danger was a lie and a pretext. There 
were four election lists in Moscow just as there were in St. 
Petersburg; neither in St. Petersburg nor in Moscow did 
the alliance of the Black Hundreds and the Octobrists bring 
the Rights victory. We are in possession of figures that can 
be quoted in case of necessity. 

The Mensheviks are thus at liberty to adhere to the Ca- 
dets and serve them. We shall not follow them. Neither 
will the people follow them. The Cadets' behaviour has 
been such that the masses are swinging more and more to 
the Left. If Milyukov imagines that by speaking of our 
"adventurous policy" and classifying our banner as a "red 
rag" he will deprive us of followers, we can only invite 
him to continue talking such nonsense, for it is to our ad- 
vantage. The Cadet-like Mensheviks would be wise to give 
thought to the fact that at those St. Petersburg factories 
where the workers were formerly Bolsheviks, Bolsheviks 
were again elected, but that at those factories where the 
workers were formerly Mensheviks and where propaganda 
was conducted mainly by Mensheviks — the Socialist-Revo- 
lutionaries were victoriousl The Socialist-Revolutionaries 
themselves must have been amazed at the number of votes 
they received. How grateful they should be for Menshevik 


opportunism! As far as we are concerned, such results 
can only fortify our conviction that today, more than 
ever, our duty and the guarantee of our success lie in 
joint work, not with the liberal bourgeoisie, who want 
to put an end to the revolution, but with the democratic 
peasantry, against the baseness and treachery of the bour- 
geoisie, who are day by day becoming more and more 
counter-revolutionary. The best policy is, once again and 
always, the frankly revolutionary policy, the bitter, com- 
pletely independent struggle under the proletarian banner 
which by degrees is gathering around our party the count- 
less masses of democratic peasants together with worker- 

Published on April 4, 1907, 
in L'Humanite, No. 1082 

Published according 
to the L'Humanite text 
Translated from the French 



St. Petersburg, February 20, 1907. 

The Second Duma meets today. The conditions it has been 
convened in, the conditions, internal and external, during 
the elections, and the conditions it will function in — all 
these are different from that they were for the First Duma. 
Obviously, it would be a mistake to expect a simple repe- 
tition of events. On the other hand, however, one essential 
feature is discernible in all the changes that have taken 
place in the past year of constant political ups and downs, 
namely that, on the whole, the movement has risen to a 
higher plane, that for all its zigzag path it is persistently 
pressing ahead. 

In brief, this essential feature may be described as fol- 
lows: a shift to the Right at the top, a shift to the Left at 
the bottom, and an accentuation of the political extremes — 
and not only political, but also and above all social and 
economic extremes. It is particularly characteristic of the 
events immediately preceding the opening of the Second 
Duma that the seemingly unruffled surface of political 
life has concealed a quiet, inconspicuous, but deep-going 
process in the growth of understanding among the masses, 
both in the working class and among the broadest sections 
of the peasantry. 

Though there has been little change in the constitution 
bolstered by military courts in the past year, the political 
migration of the classes has been tremendous. Take the 
Black Hundreds. At first they consisted mainly of a gang of 
scoundrels in police service, with a small following re- 
cruited from the most ignorant and deluded sections of the 
common people, often deliberately befuddled with drink. 
Today the reactionary parties are headed by the Council 
of the United Nobility. The feudal-minded landlords have 



closed their ranks and have become thoroughly "aware of 
themselves" in the course of the revolution. The reaction- 
ary parties are becoming the class organisation of those 
who will defend to the death the blessings most threatened 
by the present revolution: the huge landed estates — that 
feudal survival — the privileges of the highest estate, the 
opportunities they have to influence affairs of state through 
personal connections with the camarilla, etc. 

Take the Cadets. Of the frankly and patently bourgeois 
parties this party was considered unquestionably the most 
"progressive". How far to the Right it has shifted! There 
is no longer any of last year's vacillation between reaction 
and the struggle of the people. This has yielded to frank 
hatred for this struggle, a cynically outspoken ambition 
to put a stop to the revolution, to settle down quietly, 
come to terms with reaction and begin to build the cosy 
little nest — cosy for the landlord of capitalist inclinations 
and for the manufacturer — of a monarchist constitution, 
a narrow, mercenary, class constitution, one of ruthless 
severity towards the masses of the people. 

It is now no longer possible to repeat the error so many 
people used to slip into when they said that the Cadets 
stand to the Left of the Centre — that the line of demarca- 
tion between the parties of freedom and the parties of 
reaction lies to the Right of the Cadets. The Cadets are 
the Centre, and this Centre is ever more openly working 
for a deal with the Right. As a result of the political re- 
alignment of classes, the Cadets now find their support 
in the landlord whose estate is being run along capitalist 
lines, and in the broad section of the bourgeoisie. The 
democratic, petty-bourgeois sections of the population, 
however, are patently drawing away from the Cadets, 
following them only by force of habit, from tradition, and 
at times simply because they have been deceived. 

In the countryside the main battle of the present revo- 
lution — the fight against feudal survivals and landed pro- 
prietorship — is even fiercer and more clear-cut. The Ca- 
dets' non-democratic nature reveals itself much more 
glaringly to the peasant than to the urban petty bourgeois. 
And the peasant has turned his back on the Cadet with even 
greater finality. It was the peasant electors, I would say, 



more than any others, who ousted the Cadets from the 
gubernia electoral assemblies. 

The antagonism between peasant and landlord — the 
most deep-rooted and most typical form of the antagonism 
between the people's freedom and feudal survivals in the 
bourgeois revolution — is not in the forefront in the towns. 
The urban proletarian has already come to realise another 
and much more profound conflict of interests, and this has 
given rise to a socialist movement. Taken as a whole, the 
worker curias all over Russia, have returned almost exclu- 
sively Social-Democratic electors, with only a scattering 
of Socialist-Revolutionaries and an altogether negligible 
number of electors from other parties. But even among 
the urban petty-bourgeois democrats the shift of the lower 
stratum to the Left, away from the Cadets, is unmistakable. 
According to figures published in Rech by a Cadet statisti- 
cian, Mr. Smirnov, in 22 cities, with 153,000 voters voting 
on four election lists, the monarchists received 17,000 
votes, the Octobrists 34,000, the Left bloc 41,000, and the 
Cadets 74,000. So enormous was the number of votes wrest- 
ed from the Cadets in the very first election contest — 
despite the tremendous power of the Cadet daily press, the 
legal status of the Cadet organisation, the Cadet falsehood 
about the danger of a Black-Hundred victory and despite 
the illegal status of the Lefts — that there can be no doubt 
about the turn taken by the shop-assistants, petty clerks, 
petty civil servants and poorer householders. The Cadets 
will not be able to stand up to another such battle. Urban 
democracy has abandoned them for the Trudoviks and the 

The whole of the proletariat has mobilised, and the great 
mass of the democratic petty bourgeoisie, especially the 
peasantry, are mobilising against the Black-Hundred 
Council of the United Nobility and against the liberal 
bourgeoisie, who have funked completely and turned tail 
on the revolution. 

The political realignment of classes is so profound so 
far-reaching, and so mighty that no military courts, no 
Senate interpretations, no tricks of the reactionaries, no 
spate of Cadet falsehood monopolising the columns of the 
entire daily press — in fact, nothing at all has been able 



to prevent this realignment from being reflected in the 
Duma. The Second Duma demonstrates the intensification 
of the profound, conscious, and increasingly organised 
mass struggle between the various classes. 

The task of the moment is to understand this basic fact, 
and to be able to connect the various sections of the Duma 
with this mighty support from below. It is not to the top, 
not to the government, that we must look, but to the depths, 
to the people. It is not to the petty technical details of Duma 
procedure that we must devote our attention; it is not vul- 
gar considerations of how best to lie low, of how to keep 
quiet in order to prevent the Duma from being dissolved, in 
order not to anger Stolypin and Co. — it is not these vulgar 
Cadet considerations that must interest the democrat. All 
his attention, all the strength of his spirit, must be directed 
towards strengthening the transmission belt which con- 
nects the big wheel that has begun to revolve energetically 
down below with the little wheel up above. 

Now, more than ever before, it is the duty of the Social- 
Democratic Party, as the party of the most advanced class, 
to rise boldly to full stature, to speak out independently, 
resolutely and courageously. If it is to further the social- 
ist and purely class aims of the proletariat, this Party 
must show it is the vanguard of the entire democratic 
movement. True, we must dissociate ourselves from all petty- 
bourgeois groups and strata — but not for the purpose of 
secluding ourselves in supposedly splendid isolation (which 
would really mean assisting the liberal bourgeois, trailing 
along in their wake), but for the purpose of ridding ourselves 
of all vacillation, of all half-heartedness, for the purpose 
of becoming the leader of the democratic peasantry. 

The primary task of the Social-Democrats entering the 
Second Duma is to wrest away from the liberals those 
democratic elements that are still under their sway; to become 
the leader of those democrats; to teach them to seek sup- 
port in the people and join ranks with the masses down 
below; to unfurl our own banner before the whole of the 
working class and before the entire impoverished and 
famine-stricken peasant masses. 

Novy Luch, No. 1, 
February 20, 1907 

Published according 
to the text in Novy Luch 



Workers, comrades! 

The day set for the opening of the Second State Duma 
has arrived. The class-conscious proletariat never believed 
that freedom for the people and land for the peasants could 
be attained by sending petitioners to the tsar, ruler of 
the gang of Black-Hundred cutthroats. The class-con- 
scious proletariat boycotted the Duma to warn the back- 
ward peasant masses, who believed in the Duma. And the 
story of the First Duma — the government's mockery of 
its proposals and its eventual dissolution — has shown that 
the class-conscious proletariat was right, has shown that 
liberty cannot be attained by peaceful means, under laws 
promulgated by the tsar and enforced by the Black Hun- 

The Social-Democrats advised the people to send fighters 
to the Second Duma, not petitioners. The people's faith 
in peaceful methods has been shattered. That is evident 
from the fact that the Cadet Party, the party of liberals, 
which advocated peaceful methods, suffered a crushing 
defeat in the elections. This party of liberal landlords and 
bourgeois lawyers, which is desirous of reconciling the 
Black-Hundred autocracy with popular freedom, is en- 
tering the Second Duma with depleted forces. The Black 
Hundreds have gained in strength, and now have several 
dozen deputies in the Duma. Much greater, however, is 
the gain of the Lefts, i.e., of those who stand more or less 
resolutely and consistently for revolutionary struggle as 
opposed to peaceful methods. 


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First page of the newdpaper Rabochy, No. 2, 1907 


The Second Duma is more Left than was the First. Its 
deputies include many more Social-Democrats, and a great- 
er number of revolutionary democrats (the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and a section of the Trudoviks). The First 
Duma was a Duma of hopes for peaceful development. The 
Second Duma will be the scene of a sharp struggle between 
the Black-Hundred tsarist government and the represent- 
atives of the masses: the masses of proletarians, who are 
consciously striving for liberty in order to facilitate the 
fight for socialism, and the masses of the peasants, who 
are rising spontaneously against the feudal-minded landlords. 

The elections to the new Duma have shown that despite 
all persecution and bans, revolutionary consciousness is 
spreading and gaining force among the masses of the people. 
A new revolutionary wave is approaching, a new revolu- 
tionary battle of the people for freedom. 

This battle will not be fought in the Duma. It will be 
decided by an uprising of the proletariat, the peasantry, 
and the class-conscious sections of the armed forces. It 
is a battle that is being brought closer to us by the entire 
course of events, by the entire course of the clashes be- 
tween the Left section of the Duma, and the government 
and the Cadets. 

Be prepared, then, workers, for events of great moment. 
Do not waste your strength to no purpose. There is no need 
for us to hasten the denouement: let the tsar and his Black- 
Hundred lackeys begin the attack. If they want to get rid 
of the new Duma, they will have to attack the people, 
dissolve the Duma, revoke the election law, and launch 
a new series of repressions. 

Let the oppressors begin. The proletariat must keep 
firmly, steadily, consistently to its task of preparing ever 
broader masses of the people for the great and desperate 
fight for freedom. Comrade workers! We have come through 
the first great encounters in the revolution: January 9, 
1905, the October strike, and the December uprising. We 
shall gather our forces anew for still another advance, 
even more formidable and resolute than the last, when the 
name of the Left Duma shall flare up into a nation-wide 
conflagration. We must gather and concentrate all our 
forces for the decisive battle that is impending. 



Remember, comrades, that the Second Duma must 
inevitably lead to battle, to insurrection. Do not waste 
your strength on trifles. 

Long live the rising of all the people for freedom! 

Long live the revolution! 

Long live international revolutionary Social-Democracy! 

Written on February 20 (March 5), 


Published on February 23, 1907 
in Rabochy, No. 2 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according 
to the newspaper text 



St. Petersburg, February 21, 1907. 

Yesterday we expressed the hope that the Mensheviks, 
who have fine words to say in Russkaya Zhizn e2 on the in- 
dependence of Social-Democracy, would pursue a correct 

On the evening of the day before yesterday a Cadet meet- 
ing was held that shattered all those hopes.... 
This is what happened. 

After lunch on February 19, the Social-Democratic Duma 
group held a meeting. It was proposed that they should 
attend a private conference arranged by the Cadets. Some 
of the deputies objected strenuously. They said that it was 
a disgrace for working-class deputies to go to liberal bour- 
geois who were bargaining with Stolypin, and that the 
Social-Democrats should pursue a proletarian and not a 
Cadet policy, should not lead the peasants to the liberal 
landowner, and should not assist the formation of a Cadet 
"Left" bloc. The Mensheviks got their own decision adopted. 

On the evening of February 19, a meeting of some 300 
members of the Duma "opposition" was held at Dolgoru- 
kov's apartment. It was attended by Cadets, Narodowci 
(Polish Black-Hundred bourgeois nationalists), all the 
Lefts — Trudoviks, S.R.'s and ... Social-Democrats. Some 
of the Social-Democrat deputies did not go to the Cadets. 

What happened at the meeting at the Cadet's apartment? 

At this meeting all the Lefts, all democrats, petty 
bourgeois (Narodniks, Trudoviks, S.R.'s) and all Cadet-like 
Social-Democrats signed the Cadet proposals. According 
to Tovarishch, the Mensheviks made the formal proviso 
that their decision was not final, they would still have to 



consult the group. According to Rech (the Cadet central 
newspaper) however, nobody made any proviso at all. 

And so, there were Social-Democrats who, like faithful 
servants of the liberals, accepted their entire plan, gave the 
majority of seats in the presidium (two out of three) to the 
Cadets, and agreed to the Trudoviks taking the third place, 
thus tying up the Trudoviks with the Cadets, and agreed 
to refrain from explaining to the people what political 
significance the selection of the presidium has, or why it 
is obligatory for every conscientious citizen to decide that 
question from the standpoint of party alignment, and not 
by private arrangement behind the scenes. 

Can such conduct be justified by the fear that a Black- 
Hundred presidium would be elected in the Duma? No. 
In Comrade P. Orlovsky's article of yesterday, we demon- 
strated that the Black Hundreds could not win, whatever 
the division of votes between the Cadets and the Lefts. 

The Menshevik policy is actually determined, not by the 
danger of a Black-Hundred victory, but by the desire to 
render service to the liberals. 

What must the policy of the Social-Democrats be? 

Either abstain, and, as socialists, stand aside from the 
liberals, who betray liberty and exploit the people, or 
give the lead to the democratic petty bourgeoisie that is 
capable of struggle, both against the Black Hundreds and 
against the liberals. 

The former policy is obligatory for socialists when there 
is no longer any substantial difference between any of the 
bourgeois parties from the standpoint of the struggle for 
democracy. That is what happens in Europe. There is no 
revolution. All the bourgeois parties have lost the ability 
to struggle for democracy, and are struggling only for the 
petty, selfish interests of big or small proprietors. Under 
such circumstances, Social-Democracy alone defends the 
interests of democracy, and in so doing persistently unfolds 
its own socialist views to the masses. 

The latter policy is obligatory when the conditions of a 
bourgeois-democratic revolution obtain, when, in addi- 
tion to the working class, there are certain bourgeois and 
petty-bourgeois strata capable of struggle for the democra- 
cy that is essential to the proletariat. 



In present-day Russia the second policy is obligatory. 
Without ever forgetting their socialist agitation and prop- 
aganda, and the organisation of the proletarians into a 
class, Social-Democrats must, jointly with the democratic 
petty bourgeoisie, crush both the Black Hundreds and the 
liberals, as the situation may demand. 

That is because the liberals (Cadets, Polish Narodowci 
(?), the Party of Democratic Reform, etc., etc.) have al- 
ready turned emphatically away from the revolution and 
have entered into a deal with the autocracy against the 
people's freedom they talk so falsely about. It has now 
even transpired that last year the Cadets helped the govern- 
ment obtain 2,000 million from France to spend on sum- 
mary military courts and shootings; Clemenceau said out- 
right to the Cadets that there would be no loan if the Cadet 
Party came out officially against it. The Cadets refused to 
oppose the loan for fear of losing their position as the 
government party of the morrow! Russia was shot down, not 
only by Trepov's machine-guns, but by the Franco-Cadet 

It is impermissible for revolutionary Social-Demo- 
crats to support the hegemony of the Cadets. It is, however, 
not enough for them to have spoken against going to the Cadet 
meeting on February 19. They must demand, categorically 
and unconditionally, that the group break with the Cadet- 
like policy and come out forthrightly and openly in the 
Duma with an independent policy of the proletariat. 

On the question of the presidium, the Social-Democrats 
should have said: we do not want our own presidium. We 
support the whole list of Lefts or Trudoviks against the 
Cadets, that is, we support all three candidates for the 
presidium, against the Cadet candidates, and will abstain 
if the Trudoviks follow in the wake of the Cadets, despite 
our warnings. In any case it would be essential to put up 
a candidate from the Lefts even though there would be no 
chance of his being elected; at the first voting, the number 
of votes given for him would show what forces the Social- 
Democrats could rely on in the event of a struggle against 
the Cadets. And if it should turn out that he obtained more 
votes than the Cadet, even if it were less than the abso- 
ute majority required for election, the voting would show 



the people clearly that this is not a Cadet Duma, and that 
the Cadet is not everything in the Duma. 

The election of the presidium is not a mere bagatelle. 
It is the first step, after which others will follow. The die 
is cast. 

There must be either a Cadet-like policy which would 
mean turning the Social-Democrats into an appendage to 
the liberals; 

or there must be the policy of revolutionary Social- 
Democracy, in which case we should not begin by kowtow- 
ing to the Cadets, but by openly unfurling our own banner. 
Then we would not go to the Cadets. Then we would call on 
the petty bourgeoisie, and especially on the peasant de- 
mocracy, to do battle against both the Black Hundreds and 
the liberals. 

Novy Luch, No. 2, 
February 21, 1907 

Published according 
to the text in Novy Luch 



The newspaper Tovarishch of February 21 carries ex- 
cerpts from the decisions adopted at the recent extraordi- 
nary congress of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. These 
decisions are devoted to the tactics to be adopted in the 

A lot might and should be said about these decisions. 
We cannot deal here with the fundamental error of these 
and all other decisions of the Socialist-Revolutionaries — 
their failure to analyse the different parties from the class 
point of view. No tactics worthy of the name can be elabo- 
rated without such an analysis. We shall frequently have 
occasion to return to this subject when we compare the de- 
cisions of the Socialist-Revolutionaries with the platform 
of the revolutionary Social-Democrats (the resolutions 
adopted at a conference of representatives from several 
Bolshevik organisations, which met from February 15 to 
February 18*; they are to be published within the next 
few days.** 

Nor shall we go into the somewhat excessive emphasis 
which the Socialist-Revolutionaries place on the elemen- 
tary truth that the revolutionaries have no desire at all to 
"create extraneous [?], unessential conflicts", to "hasten 
the dissolution of the Duma", and the like. That is a mere 

* Today's Sovremennaya Rech 65 (February 22), on page 3, cor- 
rectly reports the composition of this conference, and prints an ex- 
cerpt of one of the six resolutions it adopted. Readers should bear 
in mind that there are several inaccuracies even in this excerpt. 
**See pp. 133-44 of this volume.— Ed. 



From the point of view of the immediate tasks of the 
day, the following decision is the kernel of the Socialist- 
Revolutionary tactics: 

"4. The Congress is of the opinion that strict party alignments 
within the Duma, with each group acting on its own in isolated fa- 
shion, and bitter strife among the groups, might completely paralyse 
the activity of the opposition majority, and thus discredit, in the 
minds of the working classes, the very idea of popular representa- 
tion. The Congress therefore considers it essential that the party 
deputies exert every effort to organise the most constant and co-or- 
dinated action on the part of all the socialist and extreme Left party 
groups; particularly in questions of the fight against the Rights in 
the Duma and against the government, for liberties and political 
rights for the people, it is essential to strive in each individual case 
for the most co-ordinated actions on the part of the revolutionary 
and socialist section of the Duma in conjunction with the opposi- 
tion. Moreover, all these co-ordinated actions, both long-term and 
partial, must be conducted along lines which do not conflict in any 
way with the fundamental principles of the party programme and 

What a splendid exposition of the fundamental prin- 
ciples of petty-bourgeois tactics! What a splendid demon- 
stration of their flimsiness! 

"Long-term [!] and partial co-ordinated actions", "the 
most constant [!] and co-ordinated".... How empty these 
words are in the absence of any attempt to explain just 
what community of interests of just what classes lie at the 
root of all this "co-ordination"! We revolutionary Social- 
Democrats favour joint actions by the party of the prole- 
tariat and the parties of the democratic petty bourgeoisie 
against the Black Hundreds and against the Cadets, as the 
party of treacherous liberalism. The Socialist-Revolution- 
aries are so far from understanding this class foundation 
of the Russian revolution that, on the one hand, they talk 
about co-ordination of the socialist and extreme Left 
groups in general, i.e., about concealing the contradictions 
between the proletarian and the small producer; and, on 
the other hand, they talk about co-ordinated action by 
the revolutionary and socialist section of the Duma with 
the opposition, against the Black Hundreds. 

No, gentlemen, we shall not even discuss permanent 
agreements, or co-ordinated action in general. You must 
first agree with us on the policy of fighting both the Black 



Hundreds and the Cadets — agree in deed. That is our ul- 
timatum. That is our line of policy in the democratic rev- 
olution. We shall declare in regard to any question arising 
in the present revolution, as we declared during the St. 
Petersburg elections — the proletariat goes unhesitatingly 
into battle both against the Black Hundreds and against 
the Cadets. As long as the petty bourgeois vacillate, as 
long as they follow the Cadets — unrelenting war against 
the petty bourgeois. You have abandoned your Cadets? 
You agree to oppose the Cadets? If that is actually so, if 
that is not a mere paper declaration but something you 
prove in action, then, and only then, will the Social-Dem- 
ocrats fight together with you in democratic action. 

But the most remarkable thing, I should say, is the be- 
ginning of the resolution just quoted. Just think of it: 
"strict party alignments within the Duma", "bitter strife 
among the groups"* may "discredit, in the minds of the 
working classes, the very idea of popular representation". 
Veritable Socialist-Revolutionary "Plekhanovs", in the 
Vasilyev sense of the word!** 

No, gentlemen. The principle of class struggle is the 
very foundation of all Social-Democratic teachings and 
of all Social-Democratic policy. The proletarians, the 
peasants, and the townspeople are not such babes in arms 
that the idea of representation can be dimmed in their 
minds by bitter disputes, or by the acute struggle between 
the classes. Our job is not to be sugary to them, but, on 
the contrary, to teach them, from the Duma platform, to 
distinguish clearly between the parties and to understand 
their class roots, which the sly bourgeoisie keep buried deep 

* Rech of February 22 carried a special article, immediately 
following its editorial, on the resolutions of the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries. Citing precisely this passage on the harmfulness of "strict 
party alignments", the organ of the liberal bourgeoisie declares: "Thus 
we have an absolutely correct definition of the point of departure of 
the new tactics." Precisely! The tactics of the Socialist-Revolution- 
aries are correct from the point of view of the interests of the liberal 
bourgeoisie in general, and of its deal with the reactionaries in par- 

** See present edition, Vol. 11, p. 424.— Ed. 



That is just what is so criminal about the Menshevik 
policy in the Duma — they will not, or cannot, tell the 
people from the Duma platform the whole truth about the 
class nature of the various parties; about the Milyukovs' 
secret haggling with the Stolypins, about the fundamental 
difference between the democratic aims of the peasant and 
those of the liberal, between the socialist aims of the 
peasant and those of the proletarian. 

But the world holds other things besides this policy 
of the Mensheviks, inaugurated by their silent voting at 
the dictates of the Cadets. 

This complete failure to understand the class roots of 
the "oppositional" liberalism that is secretly trading away 
freedom and democracy to the Stolypin gang, underlies 
the opportunist tactics pursued by the petty bourgeois 
(the Trudoviks, the Popular Socialists, and the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries) and the petty-bourgeois wing of the work- 
ers' party — the Mensheviks. 

The fight against the Black Hundreds is just a blind, 
a specious pretext. In actual fact these petty-bourgeois 
tactics are applied on occasions when there is no possibility 
whatsoever of a Black-Hundred victory. Such was the case, 
for example, in the St. Petersburg elections and in the 
election of the chairman of the Duma. The real essence of 
petty-bourgeois tactics is this: both the Trudoviks (the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries are fictitiously independent; in 
actual fact they are bound up with the Trudoviks, are simply 
the Left wing of that group. This was proved by the St. 
Petersburg elections; it is being proved once more by the 
present party alignments inside the Second Duma) — both 
the Trudoviks and the Mensheviks give support to the lead- 
ership of the Cadets. Not only in Russia, but all over 
Europe as well, the liberals have long kept the democratic 
petty bourgeoisie in tow, for it is too disunited, too un- 
developed, too irresolute to act independently — and too 
much of the proprietor in inclination to follow the pro- 
letariat. That is the Achilles heel of petty-bourgeois policy — 
its inability and incapacity to cast off the ideological and 
political hegemony of the liberal bourgeois. It is no mere 
chance that the petty bourgeois tag along behind the Ca- 
dets; it is a result of the basic economic features in any 



capitalist society. The Social-Democrats' fundamental 
task — one that is absolutely alien to the Menshevik mind — 
lies, therefore, in an unflagging effort to break down the 
hegemony of the liberals over the democrats, an unflagging 
effort to liberate the petty-bourgeois masses from Cadet 
tutelage and bring them under the influence and leadership 
of Social-Democracy. 

The Trudovik proposes "constant and co-ordinated ac- 
tions". No, thank you! We refuse to have dealings with 
people who yearn for the Cadets as the drunkard yearns 
for his glass, with people who for months begged for admit- 
tance into a bloc with the Cadets in the St. Petersburg 
elections, flocked like sheep to the Cadet meeting on Feb- 
ruary 19, and gave their votes to a Cadet, to a trader in 
democracy?* No, thank you! 

Written on February 22 (March 7), 


Published in Novy Luch, No. 4, 
on February 23, 1907 

Published according 
to the newspaper text 

* S 

ee pp. 161-64 of this volume. — Ed. 



Russkaya Zhizn has raised a ridiculous outcry over the 
attitude of Novy Luch towards the Social-Democratic Duma 
group. (The article "Even Here!" in No. 45.) 

It is ridiculous because Russkaya Zhizn chose to avoid 
the issue instead of attempting to give at least some sort 
of pertinent answer to our criticism of the group's conduct. 

We declared that our group should not under any cir- 
cumstances have voted for the Cadet candidate for the 

We declared that, in its official capacity, our Duma 
group should not under any circumstances have attended 
private meetings called by the Cadets and the Polish Na- 

We declared, finally, that the Duma group's conduct may 
lead to a split, for it follows a line contrary to the spirit 
and the letter of the decisions of the Party's Stockholm 

Lastly, we called upon the Bolshevik section of our 
Duma group to wage a most ruthless struggle against the 
opportunism of the majority of the group, and to hold stead- 
fastly to the principles of revolutionary Social-Democracy 
in the group. 

We have written a great deal on this subject; we have 
published several articles on the conduct of the Duma 
group in connection with the presidium, examining the 
question from every angle. 

Russkaya Zhizn raises no objection whatever to the 
actual issue involved; it does not make a single serious 



attempt to defend the tactical line of the Mensheviks, who 
are actually in control of the Duma group. 

We were entitled to expect, and did expect, some at- 
tempt on the part of Russkaya Zhizn to show that its tac- 
tical line is in full harmony with the decisions of the Stock- 
holm Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., that this line is one that 
should bring about the hegemony of our Duma group over 
the entire Left wing in the Duma. 

But nothing of the sort has occurred. Instead of this 
we get a stream of sorry talk, of ridiculous complaints 
that Novy Luch is badgering the Social-Democratic Duma 
group, that Novy Luch is spurring the Bolsheviks in the 
Duma group towards an immediate split. 

Instead of an answer on the point at issue, we get the 
hypocritical exhortation: "Novy Luch should speak more 
clearly. It should dot all its i's. And it should recall the 
counsel of the gospel: 'That thou doest, do quickly.'" 

Comrades! Your brashness is truly superb! Your out- 
cries about a split engineered by the Bolsheviks are the 
very acme of truth and sincerity. 

The only organisation of our Party in which there is 
a split at present — and a very bad split — is the St. Peters- 
burg organisation. Who split this organisation? The Men- 
sheviks split it, did so against the will of the organised work- 
ers and to the gratification of the Cadets, motivating 
their action by a Black-Hundred danger which proved 
non-existent in St. Petersburg. And despite this fact, the 
Mensheviks stubbornly refuse, to this very day, to restore 
the unity of the St. Petersburg organisation — stubbornly 
persist in their efforts to deepen and widen the split. 

The Bolsheviks fought with might and main against 
election agreements with the Cadets being regarded as per- 
missible. But agreements were recognised as permissible 
at the November Party Conference. At this conference the 
Bolsheviks bound themselves to abide by the decisions of 
the local organisations, and in every case where the local 
organisations deemed it necessary to enter into election 
agreements with the Cadets, the Bolsheviks kept their prom- 
ise, as a "sacred and inviolable" duty to the Party. The 
Mensheviks undertook the same obligation; but when they 
found that the organised workers of St. Petersburg would 



not agree to follow them in the Cadet leading strings, they 
split the organisation. 

And now they wail about a split! As to the challenge 
presented to us by Russkaya Zhizn, we can find no difficulty 
at all in answering it. We have always dotted our i's, and 
anyone who has eyes to see with can see the dots. 

The unity of the Party is most dear to us. But the purity 
of the principles of revolutionary Social-Democracy is 
dearer still. We submit, as we have always done, to the 
will of the majority at the Parry's Stockholm Congress. 
We consider it imperative to carry out all its decisions. 
But we demand that these decisions be carried out by the 
central, leading organs of the Party. And the opportunist 
vacillations of the Mensheviks, all their attempts to pro- 
pitiate the Cadets by abandoning the line laid down by 
the Congress, have met, and will always meet, with our 
merciless criticism and unyielding resistance. That is our 
right and our duty. We shall never give up that right, never 
fail in that duty. And if a split does take place, it will 
only show that the Mensheviks themselves have trampled 
underfoot the decisions they themselves passed at the Stock- 
holm Congress. There cannot and will not be a split of any 
other kind. And such a split can signify only one thing: 
the final transformation of the Mensheviks into vassals of 
the Cadets. 

"The scarlet banner of the proletariat has faltered in the 
hands of the Social-Democratic Duma group," we wrote 
two days ago. 

The Cadets demand that this banner be dipped to them. 
The day when the Mensheviks agree to this incredible in- 
famy will be the day of the split; for on that day the Men- 
sheviks will cease to be a part of the Russian Social-Dem- 
ocratic Labour Party. 

Novy Luch, No. 5, 
on February 24, 1907 

Published according 
to the newspaper text 



Plekhanov has broken the silence that was his only wise 
tactics after his renowned proposal of a common slogan — 
a Duma with full powers — for the Social-Democrats and 
the Cadets. Plekhanov has come out in Russkaya Zhizn 
with a new attempt to impel our Party towards the Cadets, 
an attempt to impose on the Party the slogan of support 
for a "responsible ministry" — a slogan already rejected 
by the Party in the period of the First Duma. 

Let us examine Plekhanov's arguments. 

First of all we must note that, in the zeal of his campaign 
against the Bolsheviks, Plekhanov resorts to an absolute 
untruth as to their views. Namely, he very definitely 
ascribes to us the desire to "smash through", the desire and 
aspiration to do battle "right away". 

For our readers to see how wrong Plekhanov is, we shall 
cite an official Bolshevik publication dated February 11: 

"...A struggle ... is undoubtedly inevitable. But it is 
precisely because of its inevitability that we must not 
force the pace, spur or goad it on. Leave that to the Krushe- 
vans and Stolypins. Our task is to reveal the truth to the 
proletariat and the peasantry clearly, directly and with 
unsparing candour, to open their eyes to the significance 
of the coming storm, to help them to meet the enemy in 
organised fashion with ... calmness.... 'Shoot first, Messrs. 
Bourgeois!' said Engels to the German capitalists in 1894. 
And we say: 'Shoot first, Krushevans!'... Therefore — no 
premature calls."* 

See p. 117 of this volume.— Ed. 



The ease with which our esteemed Plekhanov performs 
the duties of "critic" is really wonderful. No premature 
calls, the Bolshevik organisations declare a week and a 
half before the opening of the Duma. The Bolsheviks want 
to do battle "right away", Plekhanov declares in an article 
which appeared on February 23; they want to "smash through". 

Of course, that is the simplest, the cheapest, the easiest 
method of crushing the Bolsheviks: first impute an absurd 
idea to them, and then raise a fuss and fulminate ("exces- 
sive zeal", "stupidity", "worse than treachery", and so on, 
and so forth). But Plekhanov should not forget that when 
he slanders the Bolsheviks he is not slandering the dead — 
that the Bolsheviks can make it clear to all the world, 
by simply referring to an official document, how false Ple- 
khanov's statements are. That will put Plekhanov out of 
countenance. And then Plekhanov will begin to understand 
that he cannot get away scot-free with statements about 
the Bolsheviks such as only Novoye Vremya has hitherto 
been in the habit of making about revolutionaries. 

Let us proceed to the substance of the question Plekhanov 
raises, the question of whether the workers' party should 
support the slogan of "a responsible ministry". Plekhanov 
defends this slogan as follows: 

"One of the two: either the swiftly growing forces of revolution 
already surpass the forces of the government, in which case the demand 
for a responsible ministry can and should serve as the signal for the 
decisive conflict against reaction. 

"Or the forces of revolution do not yet surpass the government's 
forces of resistance, so that the decisive conflict is not yet in order; 
but the demand should be supported in that case, too, for it is a splen- 
did means of education, of developing the political understanding 
of the people, and thus preparing them for a victorious fight, in the 

"Thus, in either case the Social-Democratic deputies must not 
fail to take up this demand, in the interests of the people and in the 
interests of the revolution." 

A very edifying argument. Let us start with the first 
part. Thus, we assume, with Plekhanov, that the forces of 
revolution already surpass those of the government. If 
that were so, the demand for a responsible ministry would 
be, first, superfluous, secondly, harmful and, thirdly, the 
liberals would not support it. 



1. It would be superfluous because in any case such a 
"signal for the decisive conflict" is a roundabout signal, 
not a direct one. This "signal" does not express the definite 
idea of a really decisive battle against the reactionary 
forces; on the contrary, it expresses the idea of a concession 
such as the reactionaries might themselves voluntarily 
concede. We do not deny that, generally speaking, it may 
be right under certain special conditions to issue signals, 
not for a decisive battle, but for a minor-preliminary skir- 
mish — even a demonstration — which has all the appearances 
of a battle. But that is another question. In the condi- 
tions which Plekhanov has assumed (that the forces of 
revolution already surpass, etc.), a roundabout signal would 
obviously be superfluous. 

2. "The forces of revolution already surpass the forces of 
reaction".... What does that imply? Does it include aware- 
ness on the part of the forces of revolution? Plekhanov 
will probably agree that it does. A people unaware of their 
revolutionary tasks cannot be strong enough to triumph 
over reaction in the decisive conflict. Further: does the de- 
mand we are examining, correctly express the aims of the 
revolution in the fight against the reactionaries? No, it does 
not; for in the first place, a responsible ministry does not by 
any means signify the transfer of power into the hands of 
the people, or even the transfer of power into the hands of 
the liberals, but is, in essence, a deal, or an attempt at a 
deal, between the reactionaries and the liberals; and in the 
second place, in view of the objective conditions, even the 
actual transfer of power to the liberals cannot bring about 
the realisation of the fundamental demands of the revolu- 
tion. This idea is expressed clearly in the passage Plekh- 
anov quotes from the article in Symposium No. I 64 but he 
has not even attempted to touch upon the actual substance 
of the idea. 

The question now arises: how would the decisive (Plekha- 
nov's condition) conflict with reaction be affected by a 
slogan in which the demands of the revolution (the forces 
of which already surpass — Plekhanov's condition! — the 
forces of reaction) are incorrectly expressed? Obviously, 
its effect would undoubtedly be harmful. This slogan dulls 
the consciousness of the masses that are advancing to the 



decisive conflict. If we launched this slogan, we would 
actually be calling for a decisive battle, but pointing to a 
battle objective that can decide nothing — you shout about 
shooting a cow, but aim at a crow. 

It can never be exactly determined before the battle whose 
forces "already surpass" those opposed to them. Only a 
pedant could dream of such a thing. The concept of "forces 
surpassing the forces of the enemy" implies that the fight- 
ers are fully conscious of their tasks. Plekhanov is caus- 
ing direct harm to the revolution when he speaks of the 
"decisiveness" of the conflict and at the same time dulls 
this consciousness. That is really "worse than treachery", 
my dear critic! With "forces" sufficient for a victory over 
reaction, the "leader" calls on his troops to fight for a deal 
with the reactionaries.... Plekhanov jokingly compares 
himself to the Roman general who executed his son for 
prematurely starting the battle. A pretty jest. Now, if I 
were the "son", at a time when the decisive conflict was at 
hand, when "the forces of revolution already surpassed 
those of the government", I would shoot (or, in the Roman 
days, stab) the "daddy" who advanced the slogan of a deal 
with the reactionaries — would do so without the slightest 
compunction, calmly leaving it to future Mommsens to 
investigate whether my action was the killing of a traitor, 
the execution of a traitor, or whether it was an act of 
criminal insubordination. 

3. In arguing against the slogan of "a responsible 
ministry" in the days of the First Duma, we adduced 
only the two arguments cited above. We must now 
add a third: the liberals themselves would withdraw the 
demand for a responsible ministry if this demand could 
possibly become, directly or in roundabout fashion, a 
signal for the decisive battle between "revolution" and 

Why do we now have to add this argument? For the rea- 
son that the liberals (including the Cadets) have shifted 
far to the Right since the First Duma, and have come out 
decisively against the revolution. For the reason that Go- 
lovin, who is supported by bad Social-Democrats for his 
liberalism, came out in his very first speech not as a liberal, 
not as a Cadet, but as an Octobrist. 



If Plekhanov has so much fallen behind affairs in Russia 
as to be ignorant of this, his article is, of course, deserving 
of clemency. But even aside from such mistakes, the whole 
gist of his arguments is fundamentally wrong. 

Let us proceed to the second case. The forces of revolu- 
tion do not yet surpass the forces of reaction, and the de- 
cisive conflict is not yet in order. In that case, says Ple- 
khanov, the importance of this slogan is in its influence on 
the development of the political consciousness of the people. 
That is true. But in that case — and here Plekhanov is a 
thousand times wrong — a slogan of this kind will corrupt, 
not enlighten, the minds of the people; it will confuse, 
not revolutionise — demoralise, not educate. This is so clear 
that we need not bother to develop the idea — at any rate, 
until our next talk with the most esteemed Plekhanov. 

And so, no matter how you put it, it's still the same. 
Whether the forces of revolution have matured or not, Plekha- 
nov's slogan cannot be considered "mature" food for the 
minds of the Social-Democratic proletariat. This slogan 
sacrifices the fundamental interests of democracy and of 
our revolution — the enlightenment of the masses as to the 
aims of a real people's fight for real power — sacrifices these 
interests to temporary, casual, unessential, muddled liberal 
slogans, aims and interests. 

And it is just such sacrifice of the fundamental interests 
of the proletariat to the half-hearted, muddled aims of 
liberalism that makes up the essence of opportunism in tac- 

A few words in conclusion. In his article Plekhanov 
tries to bait us on the subject of the boycott. We shall dis- 
cuss this with him in more detail when he deigns to go 
over from baiting, to a contest on the actual issues. Mean- 
while, we might note this: the son of the Roman general, 
Plekhanov sarcastically declares, did gain the victory in 
his premature battle, whereas the Bolsheviks, so far, have 
nothing but defeats to their credit. 

You have a bad memory, Comrade Plekhanov. I suggest 
that you recall the Bulygin Duma. 65 Remember how Parvus 
and the new Iskra, 66 which you supported, opposed the 
boycott at the time. The Bolsheviks were for the boy- 



The development of the revolution brought complete 
victory for Bolshevism; and in the October and November 
days only Trotsky's exuberances distinguished the Menshe- 

Thus it was, and thus it will be, my dear Comrade Plekha- 
nov. When the revolution is on the decline, the pedants 
who, after the event, arrogate to themselves the role of 
"Roman generals" come onto the stage with their lamen- 
tations. When the revolution is on the upswing, things 
happen as the revolutionary Social-Democrats desire, compare 
them as you may to "impatient youths". 

Written on February 23 (March 8), 

Published on February 24, 1907 
in Novy Luch, No. 5, 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according 
to the newspaper text 



An article bearing the above title, published in Noviye 
Sily, ei provides a suitable occasion for giving certain 

The newspaper expresses dissatisfaction at our "hack- 
neyed" division of the bourgeoisie into petty, revolutionary 
and liberal. There is no doubt, says this organ of the Trudo- 
viks, repeating the usual Menshevik argument, that many 
petty-bourgeois people voted for the Cadets. 

Many petty bourgeois, it is true, did vote for the Ca- 
dets. But the class character of a party cannot be judged 
from the fact that certain elements, among others, voted 
for it at a given moment. Undoubtedly many German petty 
bourgeois vote for the Social-Democrats and many workers 
for the German "Centre". Noviye Sily, however, probably 
realises that it cannot be concluded from this fact that the 
"hackneyed" division of the working classes into petty 
bourgeoisie and proletariat is wrong. 

The entire history of the Cadet Party, and the latest 
elections in particular, have shown clearly that the land- 
owner who runs a capitalist estate, the middle bourgeois, 
and the bourgeois intellectual constitute the class basis of 
the party. The majority of the people, i.e., extensive sec- 
tions of the urban petty bourgeoisie, as well as the peas- 
antry, have no interest in a party that fears any independ- 
ent action by the masses, and opposes such action, that 
defends land redemption payments and carries on a struggle 
against local agrarian committees using the four-point 
electoral system 68 as a pretext, etc. This alone accounts 
for the rapid retreat of the petty bourgeoisie from the Ca- 
dets at the recent election. The peasantry, as we know, 



completely rejected the Cadets, and were mainly respon- 
sible for their defeat at gubernia electoral meetings. As we 
said in Novy Luch, No. 1,* the urban petty bourgeoisie 
had already cast 41,000 votes for the Left bloc, as compared 
with 74,000 votes for the Cadets, and this despite the fact 
that the Left had no daily press, etc. 

The Cadets are a party of the liberal bourgeoisie. The 
economic position of that class makes it afraid of a peasant 
victory and of working-class solidarity. This accounts for 
the inevitable, and by no means fortuitous, tendency of 
the Cadets to turn the more rapidly to the Right, to turn 
towards a deal with reaction, the more rapidly the popular 
masses turn to the Left. After the dissolution of the Duma, 
it was an economic necessity, not fortuity, that made the 
proletariat, the peasantry, and the impoverished urban 
petty bourgeoisie turn terrifically Left and become revolu- 
tionised, and made the Cadets turn terrifically Right. Only 
the petty bourgeois or the political philistine could regret 
this, or try to change or stop the process. 

We Social-Democrats have a different task — that of 
accelerating the liberation of the masses from the sway of 
the Cadets. This sway is maintained by tradition, by old 
ties and by the influence of the liberals, by their economic 
domination of the petty bourgeoisie, their role as a bour- 
geois intelligentsia, as liberal civil servants, etc. The sooner 
the masses realise what their own interests are, the sooner 
will they understand the hostility of the liberals to the mass 
movement, the sooner will they alienate themselves polit- 
ically from the liberals and enter various democratic, 
revolutionary organisations, unions, parties, etc. In par- 
ticular, the peasantry, who in Russia constitute eight- 
or nine-tenths of the petty bourgeoisie, are struggling pri- 
marily for land. The liberal landlord (and there are still 
such in Russia — the landowner curia elected 24.4 per cent 
of the Cadets and those more to the Left at the last elec- 
tions) is against the peasant in the struggle, and the lib- 
eral civil servant, the bourgeois intellectual is very close 
to the liberal landlord. That is why the peasantry are now 
more determinedly and more speedily emancipating them- 

See p. 154 of this volume. — Ed. 



selves from the influence of the Cadets than the urban petty 
bourgeoisie are. The victory of the peasantry in the struggle 
for land is the real economic basis for the victory of the 
bourgeois revolution in Russia. The liberals (including the 
Cadets) are opposed to the victory of the peasantry; they 
defend land redemption payments, i.e., the conversion of 
part of the peasantry into Grossbauern, and part into Knech- 
te under a landlord of the Prussian type. For this reason the 
victory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution is impossible 
in Russia without the emancipation of the peasantry from 
the political sway of the liberals. The victory of the peas- 
antry abolishes landed proprietorship, and gives the fullest 
scope to the development of the productive forces on pure- 
ly capitalist lines. The victory of the liberals preserves 
landed proprietorship, only superficially cleansing it of 
its feudal aspects, and leads to the least speedy and least 
free development of capitalism, to the development of the 
Prussian, we might say, type of capitalism, not the Amer- 

Noviye Sily does not understand this economic, class 
basis of the Russian revolution when it says that in its 
social-economic demands the petty bourgeoisie are closer 
to the liberals, and in their political demands closer to 
the proletarians, and that the "centre of gravity of the 
revolution" is shifting to "politics". Noviye Sily's argu- 
ments are a mass of confusion. The petty bourgeois, the 
peasant included, is naturally closer to the liberal than 
to the proletarian; he is closer as a proprietor, as a petty 
producer. It would, therefore, be politically ridiculous 
and, from the standpoint of socialism, downright reaction- 
ary, to unite the petty bourgeoisie and the proletarians 
in one party (as the Socialist-Revolutionaries would like 
to do). However, in the present bourgeois-democratic rev- 
olution in Russia, the struggle is by no means on account 
of the antagonism between masters and workers (as it will 
be in the socialist revolution) but on account of the antag- 
onism between peasant and landlord: "the revolution's 
centre of gravity" is shifting towards this, the economic 
struggle, and certainly not towards the "political" struggle. 

But even if our revolution is bourgeois in its economic 
content (this cannot be doubted), the conclusion must not 



be drawn from it that the leading role in our revolution is 
played by the bourgeoisie, that the bourgeoisie is its motive 
force. Such a conclusion, usual with Plekhanov and the 
Mensheviks, is a vulgarisation of Marxism, a caricature 
of Marxism. The leader of the bourgeois revolution may 
be either the liberal landlord together with the factory- 
owner, merchant, lawyer, etc., or the proletariat together 
with the peasant masses. In both cases the bourgeois charac- 
ter of the revolution remains, but its scope, the degree of 
its advantage to the proletariat, the degree of its advantage 
to socialism {that is, to the rapid development of the pro- 
ductive forces, first and foremost) are completely different 
in the two cases. 

From this, the Bolsheviks deduce the basic tactics of 
the socialist proletariat in the bourgeois revolution — to 
carry with them the democratic petty bourgeoisie, especially 
the peasant petty bourgeoisie, draw them away from the 
liberals, paralyse the instability of the liberal bourgeoisie, 
and develop the struggle of the masses for the complete 
abolition of all traces of serfdom, including landed pro- 

The question of the Duma presidium was a partial ques- 
tion of the general tactics of the Social-Democrats in the 
bourgeois revolution. The Social-Democrats had to wrest 
the Trudoviks away from the Cadets, either by voting for 
the Trudoviks or by demonstratively abstaining from voting 
and giving a reason for the abstention. Noviye Sily now 
admits that it was a mistake for the Left to take part in 
a conference with the Cadets. This is a valuable admission. 
Noviye Sily, however, is sadly mistaken in thinking that 
"it was a mistake of practical expediency and not of prin- 
ciple". This opinion, as we have shown, arises out of a mis- 
understanding of the fundamentals, principles and tactics 
of the socialist proletariat in the bourgeois revolution. 

It is only from this point of view that a correct answer 
can be found to those particular questions that are giving 
Noviye Sily a headache. 

How "to guarantee that the petty bourgeoisie, recognised 
by Novy Luch as allies, will not turn away from the Left 
and defect to the Constitutional-Democratic camp"? It is 
because this cannot be guaranteed that we are against 



any permanent agreement with the Trudoviks. Our line is 
"march separately but strike together" at both the Black 
Hundreds and the Cadets. That is what we did during the 
St. Petersburg elections, and that is what we shall always do. 

Noviye Sily's objection is that part of the petty bourgeoi- 
sie might be drawn away from the Cadets. Of course they 
might, just as we took away part of the Cadet Tovarishch 
at the St. Petersburg elections. To achieve this, we Social- 
Democrats must go firmly along our own, revolutionary 
road, paying no attention to what the Cadet's Marya Alex- 
evna 69 may say. 

Legislative work "must inevitably be placed in the hands 
of the Constitutional-Democrats". Nothing of the sort. 
The Cadets, as leaders of the liberal "Centre" in the Duma, 
have a majority over the Black-Hundred group, without 
our support. We must therefore table our own Social-Dem- 
ocratic bills, not liberal and not petty-bourgeois, bills that 
are written in revolutionary language, not in official jar- 
gon, and must put them to the vote. Let the Black Hundreds 
and the Cadets turn them down. We shall then go over to a 
ruthless criticism of the Cadet bill and regularly submit 
amendments. When the amendments end we shall abstain 
from voting on the Cadet bill as a whole, leaving the Cadets 
to defeat the Black Hundreds, thereby taking no respon- 
sibility on ourselves before the people for the poverty and 
worthlessness of Cadet pseudo-democracy. 

Novy Luch, No. 6, 
February 25, 1907 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according 
to the text in Novy Luch 



St. Petersburg, February 27, 1907. 

The papers are full of news, rumours and surmises about 
the imminent dissolution of the Duma. 

Is it probable? If we examine the objective state of affairs, 
we shall have to form the conclusion that it is more than 
probable. The convocation of the Duma was, for the 
government, a necessity born of compulsion. They had to 
make one more attempt, accompanied by the greatest 
possible repressive measures, to convene a popular repre- 
sentative body in order to come to terms with the bourgeoi- 
sie. The experiment is an obvious failure. Military courts 
and all the other niceties of the Stolypin constitution have 
rendered extraordinary aid to revolutionary agitation among 
masses until now unaffected, and have produced a Left 
Duma from out of the depths of the peasant masses. The 
Cadets, the Centre party of the Russian revolution, have 
lost ground as compared with the First Duma. The Cadets 
have undoubtedly swung to the right, but with such a 
Duma at such a time the government are completely unable 
to come to terms with them. The Cadets could merge with 
the Octobrists, and they are moving steadily in that di- 
rection: suffice it to name Mr. Struve and Mr. Golovin. But 
the specific feature of the present situation is precisely 
this — there is no Cadet-Octobrist majority in the Duma. 
The entire "Centre" has been hopelessly crushed by the sharp- 
ened struggle of the extremes: the monarchist Right, 
and the Left wing of the Duma. This latter part 
constitutes two-fifths of the deputies. Its role in the Duma 


is tremendous. Its prestige among the masses of the people 
is very high. Its growing ties with those masses cannot be 
sundered by any half-measures. Necessity dictates that the 
government dissolve the Duma: they are unable to extri- 
cate themselves from the situation now obtaining, without 
resorting to force. The "legality" of this situation only 
deepens the crisis, since its true power among the masses 
of the people must be greater than that expressed "legally", 
i.e., that which has been passed through dozens and hun- 
dreds of police screens. 

The dissolution of the Duma is more than likely: it is 
inevitable because what we are experiencing is actually a 
revolutionary, not merely a constitutional crisis. And it is 
specifically because of this that it would be dangerous, 
ridiculous and pitiful politics to hide one's head under 
one's wing and attempt to make excuses for the inevitable 
consequences of the present political situation or to attempt, 
by means of words and phrases, to obscure the clear, weak- 
en the acute, and conceal the obvious. 

The Cadets are pursuing a policy of this kind. Mr. Izgoyev, 
writing in today's Rech, says: "It is almost beyond our 
power to save the Duma." This is almost correct. "In three 
or four months' time, when the Duma will have acquired 
prestige in the country by its legislative activities, the 
situation might be different." This is not only correct but 
obvious. And the government, too, can see the obvious. 

But Mr. Izgoyev is afraid of unvarnished truth and be- 
gins to twist and turn: "But will it be granted these three 
or four months? It is a vicious circle from which there is 
no way out. The way out is not in the street, 'organised' 
or 'unorganised'; there would be a way out if people in- 
spired by real patriotism were in power...". 

Naturally! They have hypnotised themselves with their 
own empty verbosity, have driven themselves into a blind 
alley of honeyed phrases, and now they are weeping, wail- 
ing and sorrowing.... This is truly an example of a per- 
plexed, tearful and impotent philistine! 

Let the reader not imagine that Izgoyev's speeches are 
the chance mouthings of a casual Cadet writer. Oh, no. 
They are a summary of the policy officially laid down by 
the Constitutional-Democratic Party, the leading party, 



which has got its man elected chairman. In that same Rech 
we read: "After lengthy debates at the evening meeting on 
February 25 of the people's freedom parliamentary group 
on the attitude to be adopted towards the government's 
declaration, it was decided to maintain silence, expressing 
neither confidence nor distrust, and to go over to the exam- 
ination of current problems. Should the Right parties 
introduce, for provocative purposes, a formulation express- 
ing confidence in th e ministry, it was decided to vote 
against it. In the event of the extreme Left (the Social- 
Democrats) proposing a vote of no confidence, the people's 
freedom party decided to table its own proposal to proceed 
with current business. There is, incidentally, a hope that 
a preliminary agreement by the entire opposition will be 
achieved on this question, to which the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries, Popular Socialists and Trudoviks are already 
inclined to consent." Let us add that our Social-Democratic 
group in the Duma has, according to Russkaya Zhizn, 
decided to "act fully independently", a decision that meets 
with our warm approval. 

Honestly, the Cadet policy is something inimitable. 
It would be incautious to vote "no confidence". The Duma 
must be saved. But to say "we do not express confidence" — 
that is permissible. That is this but a political "man in 
a muffler"? Are these not philistines who, faced by the ap- 
proach of an inevitable storm, cover their eyes with their 
nightcaps and reiterate: "We are cautious ... we are saving...". 
You are saving your philistine nightcap, and nothing more, 
esteemed knights of the "people's freedom"! 

And what could be more ridiculous than calling the res- 
olution of the Rights expressing confidence in the ministry 
"a provocation"? It is the legitimate right of every member 
of the Duma, the natural answer of a people's representa- 
tive to the ministry's question, "This is our programme. 
Does the Duma wish to work with us in this spirit?" The 
writing of this nonsense can only be explained as complete 
confusion among the Cadets. No, gentlemen, a nightcap 
cannot protect you against counter-revolution. The right 
to dissolve the Duma is a super-"legal" right according to 
that constitution which the pitiful liberals so foolishly 
praised and so treacherously persuaded the people to take 


seriously. We cannot get away from the fact that the min- 
istry will ask the Duma whether it wishes to carry out 
some programme or another. And the answer: "We do not 
express confidence", will still be a superb and quite sufficient- 
ly "constitutional" excuse to dissolve the Duma; even with- 
out the help of the Kovalevskys, dozens of "constitutional 
precedents" can be found for the dissolution of parlia- 
ment for refusing the government much less important 
things than ... than ... than military courts and punitive 

What conclusion is to be drawn from this? The conclu- 
sion is that it is foolish to play at constitutions when there 
aren't any. It is foolish to close one's eyes and remain si- 
lent about the fact that the days of even the present Rus- 
sian "near-constitution" are numbered, that the annulment 
of the franchise and the return to complete absolutism are 

What is to be done? Aussprechen was ist — to admit the 
truth. The government are undoubtedly compelled to dis- 
solve the Duma. It is to the government's advantage that the 
Duma should disband itself in silence, should obediently 
play the constitutional comedy and not open the eyes of the 
people to the inevitability of a coup d'etat. And the cow- 
ardly Cadets, with their superb, inimitable "historical" 
formula: "maintain silence", the Cadets who, instead of 
"a vote of no confidence" say "we do not express confidence", 
are only helping the government elect a silent coup d'etat. 

Real champions of liberty, real representatives of the 
people, should act differently. They should realise that 
the continued existence of the Duma does not at all depend 
on politeness, caution, care, diplomacy, tact, taciturnity 
or other Molchalin-like virtues. 70 They should tell the 
people, simply and clearly, from the rostrum of the Duma, 
the whole truth, including the reason why the dissolution of 
the Duma, a coup d'etat, and a return to pure absolutism 
are inevitable. The government need silence on this. The 
people need to know it. The representatives of the people — 
while they still are representatives of the people! — should 
say this from the rostrum of the Duma. 

The position is quite clear. There is no other way: either 
infamous silence, obediently offering the neck, or a calm 



but firm statement to the people that the first act of the 
Black Hundreds' coup d'etat is being carried out. 

Only the struggle of the people can prevent that. And 
the people must know the whole truth. 

We hope that the Social-Democrats in the Duma will 
tell them that truth. 

Proletary, No. 14, 
March 4, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 



In Russkaya Zhizn, No. 49, Comrade D. Koltsov repeats 
the usual Menshevik argument in favour of the policy of 
support for the Cadets. But he does it so forthrightly and 
naively that there really is nothing left to do but thank 
him for reducing an erroneous theory to the absurd. 

"With whom have the Social-Democrats the greater num- 
ber of points of contact," he asks in his article "The Cadets 
and Bourgeois Democracy", "with urban or rural democ- 
racy? From whom can Social-Democracy the sooner ex- 
pect support in its struggle against cultural, religious, 
national and other prejudices? Who will the sooner support 
all measures likely to liberate the productive forces? It 
is only necessary to raise these questions, which are basic 
in Social-Democratic policy, for the answer to be clear of 
itself. Everything in the Communist Manifesto concerning 
the revolutionary role of the bourgeoisie remains as true 
in the twentieth century as it was in the nineteenth, as true 
for Russia as it was for England, ... etc. As far as rural 
democracy is concerned, it will in many cases defend old, 
outworn modes of production and social organisation, 
despite its revolutionary gallop.... When the Bolsheviks 
speak about the Cadets they forget the urban democracy 
that stands behind them; on the contrary, for them the So- 
cialist-Revolutionary and Trudovik parliamentary group 
is the embodiment of the entire peasantry. This means 
that they cannot see the wood for the trees, cannot see the 
social interests of the broad masses of the people behind 
parliamentary representation." 

From the bottom of our heart we welcome this Menshe- 
vik turn to the study of the fundamental principles of our 
disagreement on tactics. It is high time. 



And so the Cadets are the progressive urban bourgeoisie 
and the Trudoviks the backward rural bourgeoisie. This is 
what your "Marxism" amounts to. 

If this is true, why do you not say so openly and directly 
to the whole Party? Why do you not announce, clearly and 
distinctly, in a draft resolution for the Party congress, 
that, in the name of the Communist Manifesto, the R.S.D.L.P. 
is duty bound to support the Cadets against the Trudoviks? 

We should be very glad if you were to make this state- 
ment. We have been demanding it of you for a long time; 
we did so long before the Unity Congress, when we defined the 
class composition of the Constitutional-Democrats and So- 
cialist-Revolutionaries in the draft resolution on our atti- 
tude to the bourgeois parties, and invited you to give your 

How did you answer this challenge? 

You evaded it. In your draft resolution for the Unity 
Congress there is no attempt to express the idea that the 
Constitutional-Democrats are the progressive urban democ- 
racy, and the Trudoviks (Peasant Union, Socialist-Revo- 
lutionaries, etc.) the backward rural democracy. In your 
resolution for the Unity Congress on the attitude to the 
bourgeois parties there is only a repetition of the Amster- 
dam resolution, 72 a repetition that is peculiar on account 
of its indecisiveness. 

Today we repeat the challenge. We have again raised the 
question of the Marxist definition of the class basis of 
the various bourgeois parties in Russia. We have published 
the appropriate draft resolution. 

And we are certain that you will again refuse to accept 
the challenge. We are certain that you will not risk writing, 
in the draft of the official Menshevik resolution, that the 
Cadets are the progressive urban bourgeoisie and that they, 
to a greater extent than the Trudoviks, promote a policy 
of the free development of the productive forces, etc., etc. 

Here is how matters stand: 

The main economic problem in the present bourgeois 
revolution in Russia is that of the peasants' struggle for 
land. This is a struggle inevitably brought about by the 
desperate position of the peasantry, the many survivals 
of serfdom in the Russian countryside, etc. The struggle 



impels the peasant masses towards a decisive democratisa- 
tion of political relations (for without the democratic re- 
organisation of the state the peasants cannot overcome 
the feudal-minded landlords) and towards the abolition 
of landed proprietorship. 

For this very reason the Social-Democrats include con- 
fiscation of the landed estates in their programme. It is 
only the extreme opportunists among Social-Democrats 
who are not in sympathy with this programme and defend 
the substitution of the word "alienation" for "confiscation", 
although they are afraid to present such a draft openly. 

The Cadets are a party of the liberal bourgeoisie, liber- 
al landowners and bourgeois intelligentsia. If D. Koltsov has 
any doubts about the landowner colouring of the Cadets, we 
can point to two facts: (1) the composition of the Cadet 
group in the First Duma. Refer to Borodin's 73 book, Com- 
rade Koltsov, and you will see how many landlords there 
were there; (2) the Cadets' draft agrarian programme is, in 
effect, a plan of the capitalist landlord. Land redemption 
payments, conversion of the peasant into a Knecht, and the 
formation of local land commissions of equal numbers 
of landlords and peasants with chairmen appointed by 
the government — all this shows as clearly as can be that 
Cadet policy in the agrarian question is one of retaining 
landed proprietorship by cleansing it of some of its feudal 
traits, and by the peasant's ruination through redemption pay- 
ments and his shackling by government officials. In this way 
the economic significance of Cadet agrarian politics amounts 
to a deceleration of the development of the productive forces. 

The confiscation of landed estates and the complete vic- 
tory of peasant democracy would, on the contrary, mean 
the most rapid development of the productive forces possible 
under capitalism. 

In our draft resolutions for the Fifth Congress we give 
direct expression to this assessment of the economic signif- 
icance of Cadet policy. Once more: please express your 
"Marxist theory" as clearly as this, Comrade D. Koltsov! 

A comparison of the Cadet and Trudovik agrarian pro- 
jects and their attitude to questions of political democracy 
(the law on assembly in the First Duma, the attitude to 
the various types of organisation for local agricultural com- 



mittees, the programmes of the Constitutional-Democratic 
Party and the Trudovik Group in the First Duma, and so 
on, and so forth), shows that the Cadets are a party of liber- 
als, striving, and forced to strive, to halt the revolution 
by reconciling liberty with the old authorities (to the det- 
riment of liberty) and the landlord with the peasant (to 
the detriment of the peasant). The Trudovik parties (the 
Popular Socialists, Trudoviks, and Socialist-Revolution- 
aries) are the urban and, particularly, the rural (i.e., 
peasant) petty bourgeois democracy, forced to strive for 
the further development of the revolution. 

The victory of the revolution in Russia is possible only 
if the proletariat carries with it the democratic peasantry 
both against the old order and against the liberals. 

This postulate, which determines the fundamentals of 
the Bolshevik tactics as a whole, was excellently confirmed 
by the entire experience of the First Duma and the post- 
Duma period. Only by reducing our disputes to fundamentals 
shall we transform them from squabbles into the solution 
of the basic problems of the bourgeois revolution in Russia. 

We therefore welcome the frankness and directness of 
Comrade Koltsov, and repeat our challenge: let the Men- 
sheviks try to formulate these ideas concerning the Cadets 
and the Trudoviks, and express them clearly and unequi- 

Rabochaya Molva, No. 1, 
March 1, 1907 
Signed: N. L — n 

Published according to the text 
in Rabochaya Molva 




The deputies to the State Duma who are members of the 
Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, announce the 
following to the people and propose that the Duma do 

Through its prime minister, Mr. Stolypin, the government 
has announced to the people's representatives that it in- 
tends to continue the policy pursued since the dissolution 
of the First Duma. The government does not wish to con- 
sider the will of the people's representatives. It demands 
that the people's representatives should reconcile themselves 
to this policy, help develop and perfect this government 
policy, and apply it more precisely and fully. 

What does this government policy consist in? 

It consists in protecting the interests of a handful of 
big landowners, courtiers and dignitaries, protecting their 
right to exploit and oppress the people. Neither land nor 
freedom! — this is what the government has announced to 
the people through its mouthpiece Stolypin. 

The peasantry can expect nothing from the government 
but the defence of the landowners and a ruthlessly savage 
struggle against the peasants' striving for enlightenment, 
liberty and improved conditions, for the transfer of the 
land to the peasants, and for liberation from irksome bondage, 
a life of hardship and gradual extinction from famine. 
From the government the peasants must expect the continua- 
tion of that same violence that has taken thousands and 
tens of thousands of the best people away from the peas- 
antry, people who have been incarcerated in prisons, 
banished, or killed in the valiant struggle against the law- 



lessness of government officials and oppression by the land- 
owners. To bribe a tiny minority of village bloodsuckers 
and kulaks with petty hand-outs, to help them plunder the 
ruined countryside of whatever is left, as a reward for their 
aid to the autocratic government — such is the policy Sto- 
lypin and his ministry intend to pursue. 

The workers can expect nothing of this government but 
violence and oppression. As before, the workers will have 
their hands bound in their struggle to improve their condi- 
tion. As before, the workers' unions will be banned; as 
before, workers' newspapers will be persecuted. As before, 
the big manufacturers will obtain help and support from the 
government in every step they take to keep the workers 
down. The workers must not expect aid from the govern- 
ment in the dire want caused by unemployment, but must 
expect that want to grow and become more acute. Govern- 
ment help to the working class consists in laws drawn up 
at conferences of manufacturers and police officials. The 
workers of Russia long ago discovered the true value of 
this governmental "solicitude" for the working class. 

The soldiers and sailors who spilled their blood in the 
war with Japan, a war undertaken by the government in 
the predatory interests of a handful of courtiers, the sol- 
diers and sailors who spilled their blood at home in the 
struggle to make life easier, to rid themselves of the penal 
servitude of barrack life that the soldier might feel himself 
a human being, not a beast — the soldiers and sailors can ex- 
pect nothing of the government but a continuation of the 
former violence and oppression and the same rough treat- 
ment, and a crust of stale bread as a reward for pacifying 
and subduing their brothers, the workers and peasants who 
are fighting for their freedom, fighting for land for the 

The government announcement has shown clearly that 
the government wants war, not peace, with the people. 
There is one thing this announcement does not say and which 
must be said to the people by those deputies they sent to the 
Duma and who remain faithful to the people's interests — 
the government does not say that its announcement sig- 
nifies an irrevocable and inevitable decision to dissolve 
the Second Duma without even giving it an opportunity to 



express the will of the people, to express the needs of the 
peasants, workers and soldiers, of all working people, and 
to express anything the people included in the mandates 
they gave the deputies when they sent them to the Duma. 

The Social-Democratic Labour Party has always told 
the people that the Duma is powerless to give them free- 
dom and land. Those deputies to the Duma who defend the 
interests of the working class and the peasantry are prepared 
to devote all their efforts to further those interests, to help 
the people by announcing the truth in the Duma, by ex- 
plaining to the many millions of people scattered throughout 
Russia how harmful is the anti-popular policy pursued by 
the government, what evil plans against the people the 
government is elaborating, and which laws and measures 
it refuses to grant the people. 

But Duma deputies and an entire Duma capable of help- 
ing the people are meaningless without the people. If 
Russia has obtained even tiny liberties for a short period, 
if Russia has been granted popular representation even if 
only for a brief period, this is only because it has been won 
by the struggle of the people, the selfless struggle for liber- 
ty by the working class, the peasantry, the soldiers and 
the sailors. 

The government has once again declared war on the 
people. It has taken a road leading to the dissolution of 
the Second Duma, to the annulment of the present franchise, 
to the reversion to the old order of the old Russian au- 

The deputies of the working class proclaim this to the 
entire people. 

Written late in February 1907 

First published in 1931 
in Lenin Miscellany XVI 

Published according 
to the manuscript 



The Duma election results demonstrate the physiognomy 
and strength of the various classes. 

The franchise in Russia is neither direct nor equal. In 
the first place, the peasants elect one delegate per ten house- 
holds; these, in turn, elect a peasant delegate from among 
their number; the delegates so elected then elect a peas- 
ant elector and the latter, together with electors from 
other social-estates, elect the deputies to the Duma. The 
system is the same for the landowner, urban and worker 
curias, the number of electors from each curia being fixed 
by law in the interests and to the advantage of the upper 
classes, the landowners and the bourgeoisie. Furthermore, 
not only the revolutionary parties, but the opposition 
parties as well are subjected to the most barbarous, the 
most illegal police oppression, then there is the complete 
absence of freedom of the press and assembly, arbitrary 
arrests and banishment, as well as the military courts 
operating in the greater part of Russia, and the state of 
emergency connected with them. 

How, then, under such circumstances, could the new 
Duma have turned out more oppositional and more revo- 
lutionary than the First? 

To find an answer to this question, we must first of all 
examine the figures published in the Cadet Rech on the 
distribution of the electors according to party, in connec- 
tion with the party political composition of the Second 
Duma; these figures cover about nine-tenths of all the 
electors in European Russia (Poland, the Caucasus, Si- 
beria, etc., being excluded). Let us take the five chief po- 


litical groups, since more detailed information on electors' 
political leanings is not available. The first group consists 
of the Rights. To this group belong those known as the 
Black Hundreds (the monarchists, the Union of the Russian 
People, etc.), who champion a return to complete autocracy 
in its purest form, favour unbridled military terror against 
revolutionaries, and instigate assassinations (like that of 
Duma Deputy Herzenstein), pogroms, etc. Further, this 
group includes the so-called Octobrists (this is the name 
given in Russia to the party of the big industrialists), who 
joined the counter-revolution immediately after the tsar's 
manifesto of October 17, 1905, and who now support the 
government in every possible way. This party frequently 
forms election blocs with the monarchists. 

The second group consists of those belonging to no party. 
We shall see later that many electors and deputies, espe- 
cially those of the peasantry, hid behind this name in 
order to escape repressions for their revolutionary convic- 

The liberals form the third group. The liberal parties 
are headed by the Constitutional-Democrats (known as the 
Cadet Party), or "people's freedom" party. This party 
constitutes the Centre in the Russian revolution; it stands 
between the landlords and the peasants. The bourgeoisie 
tries to reconcile these two classes. The assessment of this 
party of the liberal bourgeoisie — the Cadets — is a most 
important point of difference between the two trends 
within Russian Social-Democracy. 

For opportunist reasons and not because of their polit- 
ical convictions, the Polish Black Hundreds are on the 
side of the Russian liberals in the Duma; this is the party 
of "National-Democrats" who in Poland use every means, 
including informing, lock-outs and assassination, to strug- 
gle against the revolutionary proletariat. 

The fourth group is the Progressists. This is not the 
name of a party, but, like the term "non-party" is a mean- 
ingless conventional term whose primary purpose is to 
serve as a screen against police persecution. 

Lastly, the fifth group is the Lefts. To this group belong 
the Social-Democratic and Socialist-Revolutionary parties, 
the Popular Socialists (approximately the equivalent of 



the French Radical Socialists) and those known as the 
Trudoviks* — a still completely amorphous peasant dem- 
ocratic organisation. In their class character, the Trudoviks, 
Popular Socialists and Socialist-Revolutionaries are petty 
bourgeois and peasant democrats. Sometimes electors from 
some revolutionary groups attempted to hide under the 
general name of "Lefts" during the election campaign, in 
order the better to escape police persecution. 

The Rech figures will now show the correctness of the 
conclusions we have drawn concerning the social composi- 
tion of the parties. 

As can be seen from the tables (on pages 199 and 200), 
the big cities constitute a special group — St. Petersburg 
elects 6 deputies, Moscow 4, Warsaw and Tashkent 2 each, 
the remainder 1 each, a total of 27 deputies for 17 cities. 
The remaining deputies to the Duma are elected at joint 
meetings of electors of all four curias for each gubernia; 
but in addition to this the peasant electors elect one 
deputy from the peasant curia for each gubernia. Thus we 
get three groups of deputies — from the gubernia electoral 
meeting, from the peasant curia and from the big cities. 

A few dozen electors from the progressive or Left bloc 
could be ascribed to the various party groups only on the 
basis of estimates; on the whole, however, these figures 
provide the fullest and most reliable material for an un- 
derstanding of the class structure of the various Russian 

The worker curia even in the provinces, and, needless 
to say, particularly in the big cities, voted almost exclu- 
sively Left, 96.5 per cent to be exact. Out of the 140 Left 
electors from the worker curia 84 were Social-Democrats, 
52 were unspecified Lefts (but mostly Social-Democrats), 
and four were Socialist-Revolutionaries. Despite the false 
assertions of the liberals who want to depict it as a party 
of revolutionary intellectuals, the Russian Social-Democratic 
Party is, therefore, a real working-class party. In St. 

* In the German press this party is often called the "labour group", 
which seems to point to kinship with the working class. In actual 
fact there is not even this verbal relationship between them in Rus- 
sian. It is, therefore, better to leave the word "Trudoviks" untranslated, 
using it to mean petty-bourgeois, specifically peasant, democrats. 


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Petersburg — both the city and the gubernia — of the 
twenty-four electors chosen by the worker curia twenty 
were Social-Democrats and four Socialist-Revolutionaries; 
in Moscow — both the city and the gubernia — only Social- 
Democrats were elected — thirty-five, etc. 

In the peasant curia we immediately see an astonishing 
disproportion; 33.8 per cent of the peasant electors belong 
to the Right, whereas of the Duma deputies elected by those 
same electors from the peasant curia only 7.5 per cent 
were Rights. Obviously the peasant electors only called 
themselves Rights to avoid government repressions. The 
Russian press has recorded this phenomenon in more than 
a hundred cases, and the election statistics now provide 
full confirmation of it. 

The peasant curia cannot be judged by what the electors 
call themselves, but exclusively by the party which their 
deputies consider themselves as belonging to. We see that, 
following upon the worker curia, the peasant curia forms 
the group that is most Left. The peasants elected only 7.5 
per cent Rights and 67.95 per cent standing Left of the 
liberalsl The greater part of the Russian peasantry are 
revolutionary in temper — such is the lesson to be drawn 
from the elections to the Second Duma. This is a fact of 
great importance because it shows that the revolution in 
Russia has not come to an end by a long way. Until the 
peasant's demands have been met, or, at least, until he 
has calmed down, the revolution must continue. Of course, 
the peasant's revolutionary temper has nothing in common 
with Social-Democracy; the peasant is a bourgeois-dem- 
ocratic revolutionary, and by no means a socialist. He is 
not struggling for the transfer of all means of production 
into the hands of society, but for the confiscation of the 
landlord's land by the peasantry. 

The bourgeois-democratic, revolutionary consciousness 
of the peasantry finds its typical party-political expression 
in the Trudoviks', and in the Socialist-Revolutionary and 
the Popular Socialist parties. Out of the fifty-three Duma 
deputies from the peasant curia, twenty-four belong to the 
peasant democrats (ten Lefts, ten Trudoviks and four So- 
cialist-Revolutionaries), and, furthermore, of the ten Pro- 
gressists and three non-party deputies elected by the peas- 



ants the majority undoubtedly belong to the Trudoviks. 
We say "undoubtedly" because the Trudoviks have been 
ruthlessly persecuted since the First Duma, and the peas- 
ants are wary enough not to call themselves Trudoviks, 
although in actual fact they vote together with the Trudo- 
viks in the Duma. For example, the most important bill 
introduced in the First Duma by the Trudoviks was the 
Agrarian Bill, known as the "Draft of the 104" (the essence of 
this Bill was the immediate nationalisation of the landlords' 
land, the future nationalisation of peasant allotments and 
equalitarian land tenure). This Bill is an outstanding prod- 
uct of peasant political thought on one of the most im- 
portant problems of peasant life. It was endorsed by 
seventy Trudoviks and by twenty-five peasants who de- 
scribed themselves as non-party, or gave no answer to the 
question on their party membership! 

Thus the "Trudovik" Group in Russia is undoubtedly a 
rural, peasant democratic party. It comprises parties that 
are revolutionary not in the socialist, but in the bourgeois- 
democratic sense of the word. 

A distinction must be made between the big cities and 
the smaller towns in the urban curia. The political contra- 
dictions between the different classes are not so clearly 
marked in the smaller towns, where there are no large masses 
of proletarians (who form a special worker curia) and 
the Rights are weaker. In the big cities there are no non- 
party electors at all, and the number of indeterminate 
"Progressists" is insignificant; but here the Right is stronger 
and the Left weaker. The reason is a simple one; in the big 
cities the proletariat constitutes a separate curia, which 
is not included in our table of electors.* The petty bourgeoi- 
sie are less numerous than in the smaller towns. Big in- 
dustry predominates, and is represented partly by the 
Rights and partly by the liberals. 

* There are no data for this, and so the figures on electors from 
the worker curia have been removed from the table. We have precise 
figures on only 37 worker electors. All of them, without exception, 
belong to the Left. According to the law, the total number of worker- 
electors for the whole of Russia is 208. We have more precise data 
concerning 145 of them, which, together with the above mentioned 
37 electors from the worker curia in the big cities makes 182, i.e., 
nine-tenths of the total number of worker-electors. 


The figures on the composition of the electors show con- 
vincingly that the basis of the liberal parties (mainly, 
therefore, the Cadets) is the urban, primarily the big in- 
dustrial bourgeoisie. The swing to the Right of this bour- 
geoisie, which is frightened by the independent action and 
strength of the proletariat, becomes particularly clear 
when we compare the larger cities and the smaller towns. 
The urban (i.e., bourgeois) curia is permeated with Left 
elements to a much greater degree in the latter. 

The basic differences amongst Russian Social-Democrats 
are closely connected with this last problem. One wing 
(the Minority, or "Mensheviks") regard the Cadets and lib- 
erals as being the progressive urban bourgeoisie as com- 
pared with the backward rural petty bourgeoisie (Trudoviks). 
It follows from this that the bourgeoisie is recognised as 
the motive force of the revolution, and a policy of support 
for the Cadets is proclaimed. The other wing (the Majority, 
or "Bolsheviks") regards the liberals as representatives of 
big industry, who are striving to put an end to the revolu- 
tion as quickly as possible for fear of the proletariat, and are 
entering into a compromise with the reactionaries. This 
wing regards the Trudoviks as revolutionary petty-bour- 
geois democrats, and is of the opinion that they are inclined 
to adopt a radical position on a land question of such im- 
portance to the peasantry, the question of the confiscation 
of the landed estates. This accounts for the tactics of the 
Bolsheviks. They reject support for the treacherous liberal 
bourgeoisie, i.e., the Cadets, and do their utmost to get 
the democratic petty bourgeoisie away from the influence 
of the liberals; they want to draw the peasant and the urban 
petty bourgeois away from the liberals and muster them 
behind the proletariat, behind the vanguard, for the rev- 
olutionary struggle. In its social-economic content, the 
Russian revolution is a bourgeois revolution; its motive 
force, however, is not the liberal bourgeoisie but the prole- 
tariat and the democratic peasantry. The victory of the 
revolution can only be achieved by a revolutionary-demo- 
cratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. 

If we want to know exactly whether the alliance between 
the liberals and the urban petty bourgeoisie is a stable 
one, we shall be interested in the statistics on the number 



of votes cast in the cities for the party blocs. According 
to Smirnov's statistics for 22 big cities, 17,000 votes were 
cast for the monarchists, 34,500 for the Octobrists, 74,000 
for the Cadets and 41,000 for the Left bloc* 

During the elections to the Second Duma a fierce struggle 
was waged between the two wings of Social-Democracy, 
between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, on the question of 
whether to enter into a bloc with the Cadets or with the 
Trudoviks against the Cadets. In Moscow the supporters 
of the Bolsheviks were stronger; a Left bloc was formed 
there, with the Mensheviks taking part in it. In St. Peters- 
burg the Bolsheviks were also stronger, and a Left bloc was 
formed there as well, but the Mensheviks did not take part 
and withdrew from the organisation. A split occurred and 
still continues. The Mensheviks referred to the Black- 
Hundred danger, i.e., they feared a victory of the Black 
Hundreds at the elections because of the votes of the Lefts 
and the liberals being split. The Bolsheviks declared that 
this danger was an invention of the liberals, whose one 
purpose was to attract petty-bourgeois and proletarian 
democracy under the wing of bourgeois liberals. The figures 
show that the total number of votes cast for the Lefts 
and the Cadets was more than double the combined votes 
cast for the Octobrists and the monarchists.** A split vote 
for the opposition, therefore, could not have helped the 
victory of the Right. 

These figures, covering more than 200,000 urban voters, 
and data on the general composition of the Second Duma, 
show that the real political meaning of the blocs of So- 

* By "Left bloc" we mean the election bloc of the Social-Demo- 
crats and the petty-bourgeois democratic parties (primarily the Tru- 
doviks, using that name in its widest sense and recognising the So- 
cialist-Revolutionaries as the Left wing of the group). This was a 
bloc directed against both the Rights and the liberals. 

** According to the estimates of that same Mr. Smirnov, in six- 
teen cities where 72,000 people went to the polls and where there were 
two (or three) election lists instead of four, the opposition obtained 
58.7% and the Rights 21% of the votes. Here, too, the first figure 
is more than double the second. Here, too, the danger from the Black 
Hundreds was a deceptive bogey invented by the liberals, who talked 
a lot about the danger from the Right although they actually 
feared the "Left danger" (an expression which we borrow from the 
Cadet newspaper Rech). 


cial-Democrats and Cadets is by no means the avoidance 
of the Black-Hundred danger (this opinion, even if it were 
sincere, is, in general, a false one); the blocs were meant 
to thwart the independent policy of the working class 
and subordinate that class to the hegemony of the liberals. 

The essence of the dispute between the two wings of the 
Russian Social-Democratic Party is in deciding whether to 
recognise the hegemony of the liberals or whether to strive 
for the hegemony of the working class in the bourgeois 

The fact that in twenty-two cities the Left, on the first 
agreement between the Social-Democrats and the Trudoviks 
against the Cadets and despite the unprecedented difficul- 
ties with which their agitation was faced, obtained 41,000 
votes, i.e., received more votes than the Octobrists, and 
over half as many as the liberals, — this fact is proof enough 
for the Bolsheviks that the democratic petty bourgeoisie 
in the cities follow the Cadets more from force of habit and 
because of the intrigues of the liberals than because of the 
hostility of these strata to the revolution. 

Now let us examine the last curia, that of the land- 
owners. Here we find a clearly expressed preponderance of 
Rights — 70.9 per cent of the electors are Rights. It is ab- 
solutely inevitable that, under the impact of the peasant 
struggle for land, the big landed proprietor should turn 
away from the revolution and towards counter-revolution. 

If we now compare the composition of the electoral 
groups at the gubernia election meetings with the composi- 
tion of the Duma from the standpoint of the political tinge 
of the deputies elected at those meetings, we shall see that 
Progressist is, to a considerable extent, only a name con- 
cealing the Lefts. There were 20.5% Lefts and 18.9% Pro- 
gressists among the electors. Of the deputies, 38% belong 
to the Lefts! The Rights have only 25.7% deputies while 
they had 40% of the electors; but if we subtract electors 
from the peasantry from this figure (we have already shown 
that only agents of the Russian Government who falsified 
the information on the election could regard them as Rights), 
then we get 2,170—764 = 1,406 belonging to the Right 
electors, i.e., 25.8%. And so the two results coincide. 
The liberal electors, apparently, concealed themselves 



partly under the name of "non-party" and partly under 
the name of "Progressist", and the peasants, even under 
the name of "Rights". 

A comparison with the non-Russian parts of Russia, 
with Poland and the Caucasus, provides fresh proof that 
the real motive force of the bourgeois revolution in Russia 
is not the bourgeoisie. In Poland there is no revolutionary 
peasant movement, no urban bourgeois opposition and 
there are practically no liberals. The revolutionary pro- 
letariat is opposed by a reactionary bloc composed of the 
big and the petty bourgeoisie. There, the National-Demo- 
crats were therefore victorious. In the Caucasus the revo- 
lutionary peasant movement is very strong, the strength 
of the liberals is almost equal to that in Russia, but the 
Lefts are the strongest party there: the percentage of Lefts 
in the Duma (53.6%) is approximately the same as the 
percentage of deputies from the peasant curia (49%). Only 
the workers and the revolutionary democratic peasantry 
can complete the bourgeois revolution. There is no agrar- 
ian problem in the Russian sense in highly developed 
capitalist Poland, and there is no revolutionary struggle 
on the part of the peasantry to confiscate the landed 
estates. The revolution, therefore, has no sound basis in 
Poland outside the proletariat. The class contradictions 
there are getting closer to the West-European type. We 
meet with the opposite in the Caucasus. 

Here let us mention the fact that, according to Rech 
estimates, the 180 Lefts are distributed among the various 
parties in the following way: 68 Lefts, 9 Popular Social- 
ists (the Right wing of the Trudoviks), 28 Socialist-Revo- 
lutionaries and 46 Social-Democrats.... Actually the last- 
named now number 65. The liberals try to minimise the 
number of Social-Democrats as far as possible. 

These groups may be divided into two strata according 
to their class structure: the urban and, particularly, the 
rural democratic petty bourgeoisie have 134 deputies, and 
the proletariat, 46 deputies. 

In general, we see that in Russia the class structure 
of the various parties is expressed with unusual clarity. 
The big landed proprietors belong to the Black Hundreds, 
the monarchists and the Octobrists. The big industrialists 


are represented by the Octobrists and the liberals. Land- 
owners in Russia are divided, according to the system of 
farming, into those that run their farms in a semi-feudal 
manner, employing the animals and implements of the peas- 
ants (the peasants are in bondage to the landlord), and 
those who now run their farms in the modern, capitalist 
manner. There are more than a few liberals among the lat- 
ter. The urban petty bourgeoisie are represented by the 
liberals and the Trudoviks. The peasant petty bourgeoisie 
are represented by the Trudoviks, especially the Left wing 
of the group, the Socialist-Revolutionaries. The proletar- 
iat has its representative in the Social-Democrats. With 
an obvious lag in the capitalist development of Russia, 
this clear-cut division into party groups according to the 
class structure of society is only to be explained by the 
stormy revolutionary mood of an epoch in which parties 
are formed more quickly and class-consciousness grows and 
takes shape infinitely more quickly than in an epoch of 
stagnation or of so-called peaceful progress. 

Published on March 27, 1907, Published according 

in Die Neue Zeit, No. 26, to the text in the magazine 

I. Band, 1906-07 Translated from the German 
Signed: A. Linitsch 




The Party congress, as we know, is to be convened in 
a few weeks from now. We must most energetically set 
about preparations for the congress, get down to a discus- 
sion of the basic tactical problems on which the Party 
must take decisions at the congress. 

The Central Committee of our Party has already out- 
lined an agenda for the Congress, which has been announced 
in the press. The chief items on the agenda are: (1) The 
Immediate Political Tasks and (2) The State Duma. As 
far as the second item is concerned, its necessity is obvious 
and cannot give rise to objections. In our opinion, the 
first item is also essential, but should be worded somewhat 
differently, or, rather, should have its content somewhat 

For a general Party discussion on the tasks of the con- 
gress and the tactical problems it has to solve to begin 
immediately, a conference of representatives of the two 
metropolitan organisations of our Party and the editorial 
board of Proletary drew up, on the eve of the convocation 
of the Second Duma, the draft resolutions printed below.* 
We intend to give an outline of how the conference under- 
stood its tasks, why it gave first place to draft resolutions 
on certain questions, and what basic ideas were included in 
those resolutions. 

See pp. 133-44 of this volume.— Ed. 


Item One: The Immediate Political Tasks. 

In our opinion the question must not be presented to a 
congress of the R.S.D.L.P. in this way in the times we 
are living through. This is a revolutionary epoch. All So- 
cial-Democrats, irrespective of the groups they belong to, 
are agreed on this. The correctness of our postulate will 
be borne out by a glance at that part of the resolution adopt- 
ed by the Mensheviks and the Bundists at the All-Russian 
Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. in November 1906, which 
deals with principles. 

In a revolutionary epoch it is impermissible to limit 
oneself to defining immediate political tasks, impermis- 
sible for two reasons. Firstly, in such epochs the basic 
tasks of the Social-Democratic movement are given first 
place, and they must be analysed in detail, not as is cus- 
tomary in times of "peaceful" and petty constitutional de- 
velopment. In the second place, it is impermissible to de- 
fine the immediate political tasks, because a revolution is 
marked precisely by the possibility and inevitability of 
sharp changes, sudden turns, unexpected situations, and 
violent outbursts. To appreciate this, one has only to men- 
tion the possible and probable dissolution of the Left Duma 
and changes in the election law in the spirit of the Black 

It was all very well for the Austrians, for instance, to 
define their "immediate" task as the struggle for universal 
suffrage, when there was every indication that the more or 
less peaceful epoch of uninterrupted and consistent con- 
stitutional development would continue. In our country, 
do not even the Mensheviks speak in the above resolution 
of the impossibility of a peaceful path, of the need to 
elect fighters to the Duma, and not petitioners? Do they 
not recognise the struggle for a constituent assembly? Try 
to imagine a European country with a settled constitu- 
tional system likely to endure for some time, in which such 
slogans as "constitutional assembly", the antithesis of 
"petitioner" and "fighter" in the Duma could find currency, 
and you will realise that the "immediate" tasks cannot 
be defined as they now are in the West. The more successful 
the work of the Social-Democrats and revolutionary bourgeois 
democrats in the Duma, the more probable will be an 



outburst of struggle outside the Duma which will confront 
us with immediate tasks of a special kind. 

No. It is not so much the immediate tasks as the pro- 
letariat's basic tasks at the present moment of the bourgeois 
revolution that have to-be discussed at the Party congress. 
If this is not done, we shall find ourselves in the position 
of helpless people who lose themselves at every turn taken 
by events (as happened a number of times in 1906). In any 
case the "immediate" tasks cannot be defined, just as no- 
body can say whether the Second Duma and the Election 
Law of December 11, 1905, 75 will last a week, a month 
or six months. So far, the basic tasks of the Social-Demo- 
cratic proletariat in our revolution have not yet been elab- 
orated by our Party as a whole. And without such an 
elaboration no mature, principled policy is possible, and 
no pursuit of the definition of "immediate" tasks can be 

The Unity Congress did not adopt a resolution with an 
appraisal of the present moment or a definition of the 
proletariat's tasks in the revolution, although the necessary 
drafts were presented by both trends in the Social-Demo- 
cratic Party, and the question of the appraisal of the situa- 
tion stood on the agenda and was discussed at the congress. 
Consequently, the importance of these questions was 
recognised by everybody , though the majority at the Stock- 
holm Congress considered that at that time they had not 
been made sufficiently clear. An analysis of these questions 
must be resumed. We must examine: firstly, the nature 
of the present revolutionary situation from the standpoint 
of the general tendencies of social, economic and political 
development; secondly, the political grouping of classes 
(and parties) in Russia today; thirdly, the basic tasks of 
the Social-Democratic Labour Party in this situation and 
with this political grouping of the social forces. 

We do not, of course, close our eyes to the fact that some 
Mensheviks (and perhaps the Central Committee) under- 
stood the question of the immediate political tasks to be 
simply one of supporting the demand for a Duma, i.e., a 
Cadet, ministry. 

Plekhanov, with his customary — of course, highly praise- 
worthy — impetuosity in pushing the Mensheviks fur- 


ther to the Right, has already risen in defence of this demand 
in Russkaya Zhizn (February 23). 

We believe that this is an important but subordinate 
question, which Marxists cannot pose separately, without 
an assessment of the present situation in our revolution, 
without an assessment of the class content of the Consti- 
tutional-Democratic Party and its entire political role 
today. To reduce this question to pure politicising, to the 
"principle" of the ministry's responsibility to the Chamber 
in a constitutional system in general, would mean wholly 
abandoning the point of view of the class struggle and 
going over to the point of view of the liberal. 

For this reason, our conference linked the question of 
the Cadet ministry with the assessment of the present situa- 
tion in the revolution. 

In the appropriate resolution we, first and foremost, 
begin, in the preamble, with the question which all Marx- 
ists recognise as basic, that of the economic crisis and the 
economic condition of the masses. The conference adopted 
the formula: "the crisis shows no signs of early abatement". 
This formula is probably far too cautious. But it is, of 
course, important for the Social-Democratic Party to es- 
tablish indisputable facts, note the basic features, and 
leave a scholarly elaboration of it to Party literature. 

We affirm that on account of the crisis (point two of 
the preamble) there has been a sharpening of the class strug- 
gle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie (an undoubt- 
ed fact, and the manifestations of this sharpening are com- 
mon knowledge), and also a sharpening of the social struggle 
in the countryside. There are, in the countryside, no out- 
standing events that make themselves prominent, like 
lock-outs, but such government measures as the November 
agrarian laws 76 ("bribery of the peasant bourgeoisie") 
prove that the struggle is growing sharper, that the land- 
lords are compelled to devote their efforts to splitting the 
peasantry in order to weaken the pressure exerted by the 
peasantry as a whole. 

What these efforts will ultimately lead to we do not 
know. All "uncompleted" (Marx's expression) bourgeois 
revolutions "ended" with the defection of the well-to-do 
peasantry to the side of law and order. In any case, Social- 



Democracy must do everything possible to develop the 
political consciousness of the widest strata of the peasantry, 
and make clear to them the class struggle that is going on 
in the countryside. 

Further, the third point states the basic fact in the 
political history of Russia for the past year — the "rightward" 
swing of the upper and the "leftward" swing of the lower 
classes. We thought that, particularly in a revolutionary 
epoch, Social-Democracy should, at its congresses, sum up 
the periods of social development, applying its own Marx- 
ist methods of analysis to them and teaching other classes 
to glance back and view political events from the stand- 
point of principle, not from the standpoint of the interests 
of the moment or the achievements of a few days in the way 
the bourgeoisie do — the bourgeoisie actually despise 
all theory and are afraid of any class analysis of recent 

The strengthening of the extremes means the weakening 
of the Centre. The Centre — that is the Cadets, not the Oc- 
tobrists as some Social-Democrats (Martov among them) 
erroneously thought. What is the objective historical task 
of that party? That is a question the Marxists must answer 
if they want to remain true to their theory. The resolution 
answers: "to halt the revolution by offering concessions 
acceptable [since the Constitutional-Democrats favour a 
voluntary agreement] to the Black-Hundred landlords and 
the autocracy". In Karl Kautsky's well-known book The 
Social Revolution it was made perfectly clear that reform 
differs from revolution in that it preserves the power of the 
oppressor class which suppresses the insurrection of the 
oppressed by means of concessions that are acceptable to 
the oppressors and do not destroy their power. 

The liberal bourgeoisie's objective task in the bourgeois- 
democratic revolution is precisely that — to preserve the 
monarchy and the landlord class at the cost of "reasonable" 

Is this task a feasible one? That depends on circum- 
stances. The Marxist cannot admit that it is absolutely 
infeasible. But such an outcome of the bourgeois revolution 
signifies: (1) a minimum of freedom for the development 
of the productive forces of bourgeois society (the economic 


progress of Russia would undoubtedly be more rapid if 
landed proprietorship were abolished by the revolution 
than if it were reformed as planned by the Cadets); (2) 
the basic needs of the popular masses would not be met 
and (3) it would be necessary to suppress those masses by 
force. The Cadets' "peaceful" constitutional development 
cannot be effected except by the suppression of the masses. 
This is something we must never forget, something we must 
make the masses fully conscious of. The Cadet "social peace" 
is peace for the land and factory owner, the "peace" of 
a suppressed peasants' and workers' insurrection. 

Repressions by Stolypin's military courts and the Cadet 
"reforms" are the two hands of one and the same oppressor. 


Eight days have elapsed since our first article on this 
subject was published, and a number of important events 
in political life have confirmed the truth of what we then 
said, and have cast the glaring light of an "accomplished 
fact" (or one that is still being accomplished?) on the ur- 
gent questions dealt with. 

The Cadet swing to the Right has already made itself 
felt in the Duma. The Rodichevs' support of Stolypin 
in preaching moderation, caution, legality, tranquillity, 
and not arousing the people, and Stolypin's support 
for Rodichev, his famous "all-round" support, are now 

This fact has fully borne out the correctness of our anal- 
ysis of the present political situation, an analysis made 
in the draft resolutions compiled between February 15 
and 18, before the opening of the Second Duma. We refused 
to accept the Central Committee's proposal and to discuss 
"immediate political tasks". We snowed that such a pro- 
posal was absolutely groundless in a revolutionary epoch, 
and we substituted the question of the fundamentals of 
socialist policy in the bourgeois revolution for the question 
of a policy for the moment. 

And a week of revolutionary development has followed 
the pattern we anticipated. 



On the last occasion, we examined the preamble to our 
draft resolution. The central feature of that part of the 
draft was a statement to the effect that the weakened party 
of the "Centre", that is, the bourgeois-liberal Constitutional- 
Democratic Party, was striving to halt the revolution by 
means of concessions acceptable to the Black-Hundred 
landowners and the autocracy. 

It was only yesterday, as it were, that Plekhanov and 
his Right-wing following in the R.S.D.L.P. asserted that 
this Bolshevik idea, which we persistently defended through- 
out 1906 (and even earlier, ever since 1905, ever since the 
publication of the pamphlet Two Tactics), was a semi-fantastic 
surmise born of rebel views on the role of our bourgeoisie, 
or that it was to say the least an untimely warning, etc. 

Today everyone can see that we were right. The "striv- 
ing" of the Cadets is beginning to materialise, and even a 
newspaper like Tovarishch, which probably more than any 
other hates Bolshevism for its ruthless exposure of the 
Cadets, said, with reference to the rumours,* refuted by 
Rech, of negotiations between the Cadets and the Black- 
Hundred government, that "there is no smoke without fire". 

We can only welcome this revival of "Bolshevik week" 
in Tovarishch. We can only mention that history has con- 
firmed the correctness of all our warnings and slogans; his- 
tory has exposed the thoughtlessness (thoughtlessness at 
best) of those "democrats" — and, unfortunately, of some 
Social-Democrats — who would not accept our criticism of 
the Cadets. 

Who said, at the time of the First Duma, that the Ca- 
dets were bargaining with the government behind the backs of 

* These lines had already been written when we read the follow- 
ing in the Rech leading article for March 13: "When the exact details 
of the notorious negotiations between the Cadets and the government 
in June of last year are published, the country will learn that if the 
Cadets can be reproached for anything in connection with these ne- 
gotiations behind the 'backs of the people', it is for that obstinacy 
of which Rossiya' 18 speaks." Of course, "when they are published"! 
But so far the Cadets, despite the challenges that have been made, 
have not published "exact details" of the negotiations in June 1906, 
or those of January 1907 (January 15 — Milyukov's visit to Stolypin), 
or those of March 1907. Nevertheless the negotiations behind the backs 
of the people are a fact. 


the people? The Bolsheviks did. And then it turned out that 
a personage like Trepov was in favour of a Cadet ministry. 

Who conducted the most energetic campaign of all for 
the exposure of Milyukov's visit to Stolypin on January 15 
at the height of the election struggle (allegedly a struggle) 
of the party of so-called people's freedom against the 
government? The Bolsheviks did. 

Who, at the election meetings in St. Petersburg and 
during the first days of the Second Duma (see Novy Luch), 
recalled that in 1906 the loan of 2,000 million francs was 
actually a gift made to Dubasov & Co., with the indirect 
aid of the Constitutional-Democrats, who rejected Cle- 
menceau's formal proposal to come out openly, in the name 
of the party, against that loan? The Bolsheviks did. 

Who, on the eve of the Second Duma, made the exposure 
of the "treacherous nature of Constitutional-Democratic 
policy" the corner-stone of their policy of consistent (i.e., 
proletarian) democracy? The Bolsheviks did. 

All talk of supporting the demand for a Duma ministry 
or a responsible ministry, or the demand to subordinate 
executive to legislative power, etc., was blown away like 
down by the first breeze that blew. Plekhanov's dream of 
making this slogan the signal for a decisive battle, or the 
means of educating the masses, proved to be the dream of a 
well-meaning philistine. Probably no one would now dare 
give such slogans serious support. Experience has shown — 
or, rather, is beginning to show — that the issue involved 
is by no means the "principle" of a fuller or more consistent 
implementation of "constitutional fundamentals", but the 
fact of a deal made between the Cadets and the reactionaries. 
Experience has shown that those were right who behind 
the liberal exterior of an allegedly progressive general 
principle, recognised and demonstrated the narrow class 
interests of the frightened liberal who gave pleasant names 
to disgusting and filthy things. 

The correctness of the conclusions of our first resolution 
has, therefore, been confirmed much sooner than we could 
have expected, and confirmed much more satisfactorily — 
by history and not by logic, by deeds and not by words, 
by the events of the revolution and not by the edicts of 
the Social-Democrats. 



First conclusion: "the political crisis that is developing 
before our eyes is not a constitutional but a revolutionary 
crisis leading to a direct struggle of the proletarian and 
the peasant masses against the autocracy." 

Second conclusion, proceeding directly from the first: 
"the forthcoming Duma campaign must therefore be regard- 
ed merely as one of the episodes in the people's revolution- 
ary struggle for power, and must be utilised as such." 

What is the essential difference between a constitutional 
and a revolutionary crisis? The difference is that the former 
may be resolved on the basis of existing fundamental laws 
and institutions of the state, while the latter requires the 
smashing of those laws and feudal institutions. Until now, 
the idea expressed in our conclusions has been shared by all 
Russian Social-Democrats, irrespective of group. 

It is only recently that there has been a growth of that 
tendency among the Mensheviks which inclines to the 
opposite view, to the view that all thought of a revolution- 
ary struggle should be abandoned, that we should stop at 
the present "constitution", and use it as ground to work on. 
Here are some noteworthy points from the draft resolution 
on the attitude to the State Duma compiled by "Comrades 
Dan, Koltsov, Martynov, Martov, Negorev and others, 
with a group of practicians participating"; it was published 
in Russkaya Zhizn, No. 47* (and also as a separate 

"...(2) the task of the direct struggle for power that is 
becoming the central feature of the Russian revolution, is, 
under the existing alignment of social forces [?], reduced 
[?] mainly to the question [?] of the struggle for [?] 
popular representation; 

"...(3) the elections to the Second Duma, by revealing 
a considerable number of consistent [?1 supporters of the 
revolution, have shown that among the masses of the people 
there is a growing consciousness of the necessity for this 
[?] struggle for power...." 

No matter how muddled and evasive the wording of 
these points may be, the trend is clearly visible — instead 
of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and the 

February 24, 1907. 


peasantry for power, reduce the tasks of the workers' party 
to that of the liberal struggle for the existing popular 
representation or on the basis of it. We must wait and see 
whether all Mensheviks, at the present moment or at the 
Fifth Congress, really accept this presentation of the ques- 

In any case, the rightward swing of the Cadets and Sto- 
lypin's "all-round" approval of them will soon compel the 
Right wing in our Party to make an issue of the question: 
either continue the policy of support for the Cadets and 
thereby irrevocably enter on the path of opportunism, or 
discontinue all support of the Cadets and accept the policy 
of the socialist independence of the proletariat and of the 
struggle for the liberation of the democratic petty 
bourgeoisie from the influence and hegemony of the 

The third conclusion drawn by our resolution is that, 
"as the party of the advanced class, the Social-Democratic 
Party cannot under any circumstances at present support 
the Cadet policy in general or a Cadet ministry in particu- 
lar. The Social-Democrats must bend every effort to expose 
the treacherous nature of this policy to the masses; they 
must explain to them the revolutionary tasks confronting 
them; they must show the masses that only when they 
attain a high level of political consciousness and are strong- 
ly organised can possible concessions by the autocracy be 
converted from an instrument of deception and corruption 
into an instrument for the further development of the 

We do not altogether deny the possibility of partial 
concessions, and do not say that we shall not take advan- 
tage of them. The text of the resolution does not leave any 
doubt on this score. It is also possible that a Cadet min- 
istry will in some way or another come under the heading 
of "concessions by the autocracy". But the party of the 
working class, while not rejecting this "payment on ac- 
count" (Engels's expression), 79 must under no circumstances 
forget the other particularly important aspect of the 
matter, which is often lost sight of by the liberals and op- 
portunists — the role of "concessions" as an instrument of 
deception and corruption. 



If the Social-Democrat does not want to turn into a 
bourgeois reformist, he must never forget this aspect of the 
matter. The Mensheviks unpardonably forget it when, in 
the aforementioned resolution, they say "...Social-Democ- 
racy will support all efforts of the Duma to subordinate 
executive power to itself...". "Efforts of the Duma" means 
the efforts of the majority in the Duma. The Duma 
majority may, as experience has shown, be formed from 
Rights and Constitutional-Democrats against the Lefts. 
"The efforts" of such a majority could subordinate "executive 
power" to itself in such a way as to worsen the condition 
of the people, or deceive them outright. 

Let us hope that the Mensheviks are merely over-enthu- 
siastic in this respect: that they will not support all the 
efforts of the majority in the present Duma in this field. 
It is typical, of course, that prominent leaders of Menshe- 
vism could have accepted such a formulation. 

The Cadets' swing to the Right actually compels all 
Social-Democrats, irrespective of group allegiance, to 
adopt the policy of refusing to support the Cadets, to adopt 
the policy of exposing their treachery, the policy of an 
independent and consistent revolutionary party of the 
working class. 

Proletary, Nos. 14 and 15, 
March 4 and 25, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 


Written on March 19 (April 1), 1907 

Published in 1907 in the collection Published according 

Questions of Tactics, Second Issue. to the text in the collection 

Novaya Duma Publishers, St. Petersburg 
Signed: N. Lenin 


One must thank the Menshevik comrades for publishing 
in Russkaya Zhizn, No. 47 (February 24), the first draft of 
a resolution (prepared by Comrades Dan, Koltsov, Mar- 
tynov, Martov, Negorev and others, with a group of prac- 
ticians participating). (It has also been published as a 
separate leaflet.) To prepare seriously for the Party congress, 
we must publish draft resolutions beforehand, and analyse 
them in detail. 

The resolution deals with the attitude to the State Duma. 

Point 1: 

"At the present moment after seven months' rule of the most 
unbridled dictatorship that has failed to meet with organised coun- 
teraction on the part of the terrorised masses, the activity of the 
State Duma, by arousing the interest of those masses in the political 
life of the country, can and must facilitate their mobilisation and 
the development of their political activity." 

What do they mean by this? That it is better with a Duma 
than without one? Or is this an approach to the idea that 
the "Duma must be preserved"? It seems that this is actu- 
ally the authors' idea. Only it is not expressed, but merely 
hinted at. Resolutions cannot be compiled of hints. 

Point 2: 

"The task of the direct struggle for power that is rising to [pro- 
bably a misprint* — it should read "is becoming"] the central feature 
of the Russian revolution, is, under the existing alignment of social 
forces, reduced mainly to the question of the struggle for popular 

It was not for nothing that this point won praise from 
Rech (the leading article of February 27: "for Russian 

* The two words are somewhat similar in Russian, one having 
the prefix voz- and the other the prefix vy-. — TV. 



Social-Democracy this is a tremendous step forward... 
the success of political consciousness"). And it is, indeed, 
really a monstrous point. 

How can the task of the struggle for power be reduced to 
the question of the "struggle for popular representation"?! 
What is meant by "the struggle for popular representation"? 
What is this "existing alignment of social forces"? The 
previous point has only just said that the "seven months' 
rule of the most unbridled dictatorship has failed to meet 
with organised counteraction on the part of the terrorised 
masses". Surely the absence of the organised resistance 
of the masses during those seven months, accompanied by 
an obvious and extensive swing of the masses to the Left 
which was made clear by the elections at the end of the seven 
months, can tell us something about the "alignment 
of social forces". 

This is some sort of almost unbelievable confusion in 
political thinking. 

The alignment of social forces has obviously changed 
during the past half-year in the sense that the "Centre", 
the liberals, have weakened; the extremes, the Black Hun- 
dreds and the "Lefts" have grown stronger and more virile. 
The elections to the Second Duma proved this irrefutably. 
There is, therefore a more revolutionary alignment of social 
forces in consequence of the sharpening of political contra- 
dictions {and economic contradictions , too — lock-outs , hun- 
ger strikes, etc.). By what miracle could our Mensheviks 
draw the opposite conclusion that made them weaken the 
revolutionary tasks ("the struggle for power") and bring 
them down to the level of mere liberal tasks ("the struggle 
for popular representation")? 

"An unbridled dictatorship" and a Left Duma — obviously 
the opposite conclusion is to be drawn from this; the liberal 
task of struggling on the basis of popular representation, 
or for the preservation of that representation, is a petty- 
bourgeois utopia because, by force of objective circum- 
stances, such a task cannot be carried out without "a di- 
rect struggle for power". 

Menshevik political thinking moves forward crabwise. 

The conclusion to be drawn from the second point is 
this: the Mensheviks have abandoned the revolutionary 



Social-Democratic position for the liberal position. The 
"nebulosity" of the conclusion of the second point ("the 
struggle for popular representation") actually expresses 
the idea of the liberal bourgeoisie who pretend that it is 
not they who are "terrorised" by the revolution but "the 
masses of the people who are terrorised", and use this as an 
excuse to reject the revolutionary struggle ("the direct 
struggle for power") in favour of the allegedly legal struggle 
("the struggle for popular representation"). Stolypin will 
probably soon teach the Mensheviks the meaning of "the 
struggle for popular representation" under "the existing 
alignment of social forces!" 
Point 3: 

"The elections to the Second Duma, by revealing a considerable 
number of consistent supporters of the revolution, have shown that 
among the masses of the people there is a growing consciousness of 
the necessity for this struggle for power." 

What is this? What does it mean? In Point 2 the sub- 
stitution of the struggle for representation for the struggle 
for power was deduced from the existing alignment of so- 
cial forces, and now a growing consciousness among the 
masses of the necessity for "£/iis" struggle for power is de- 
duced from the election results! 

This, comrades, is muddled. It should be rewritten as 
something like the following. Point Two — "The elections 
to the Second Duma showed that among the masses of the 
people there is a growing consciousness of the necessity for a 
direct struggle for power." Point Three — "The striving of 
the liberal bourgeoisie to limit its political activity to 
a struggle on the basis of the present popular representa- 
tion, therefore, expresses the hopeless stupidity of our 
liberals on the ideological side, and, on the material side, 
their striving (impracticable at the present moment) to 
halt the revolution by making a deal with reaction." If, 
in addition to this, our Marxists were to try and define, 
in Point 1, the economic causes that brought about this 
sharpening of political extremes among the people, they 
could have made something coherent out of it. 

And then, what is meant by "consistent supporters of 
the revolution"? Apparently, what is meant here is petty- 
bourgeois democrats, mainly peasant democrats, i.e., the 



Trudoviks (in the broad sense, including the Popular So- 
cialists and the Socialist-Revolutionaries), since the Second 
Duma differs from the First precisely in this respect. But, 
in the first place, this again is a hint, and resolutions are 
not compiled of hints. And, secondly, it is all untrue, 
comrades! For calling the Trudoviks "consistent support- 
ers of the revolution" we ought formally to accuse you of 
Socialist-Revolutionary heresy. Only the proletariat can be 
the consistent (in the strict sense of the word) supporter 
of the bourgeois revolution, because the class of small, 
producers, small proprietors, must inevitably vacillate 
between the proprietary urge and the revolutionary urge — 
for instance, the Socialist-Revolutionaries at the St. 
Petersburg elections wavered between the urge to sell them- 
selves to the Cadets and the urge to give battle to the Cadets. 

You will therefore agree with us, comrades, that we 
must express ourselves more cautiously — approximately 
in the way the Bolshevik resolution is worded (see Novy 
Luch, February 27):* 

"... the Trudovik parties ... come more or less close to expressing 
the interests and viewpoint of the broad masses of the peasantry and 
urban petty bourgeoisie, wavering between submission to the leader- 
ship of the liberals [the elections in St. Petersburg, the election of a 
Cadet as Chairman of the Duma] and a determined struggle against 
landed proprietorship and the feudal state...." 

Incidentally, we must mention that in this resolution, 
Comrade Koltsov (with other Mensheviks) places the Tru- 
doviks among the consistent supporters of the revolution, 
but in Russkaya Zhizn, No. 49, that same Koltsov places 
them among the rural democrats, which, as distinct from the 
urban democrats (i.e., from the Cadets) "will in many cases 
defend old, outworn modes of production and social organ- 
isation". That doesn't sound very coherent, comrades! 

Point 4: 

"The presence of such consistent supporters of the revolution in 
the Duma, arousing and strengthening the confidence of the masses 
in that institution, makes it more easily possible for it to become 
the real centre of the people's struggle for liberty and power." 

See pp. 137-38 of this volume.— Ed. 



The conclusion is a "pleasant" one, say what you will. 
But again the logic is lame. With this point the Mensheviks 
conclude the preamble to their resolution. On this question 
they do not utter a single word more in the resolution. And 
so the conclusion is a lame one. 

If the "consistent supporters of the revolution" do not 
constitute a majority in the Duma, but only "a consider- 
able number" (as is said — and rightly so — in Point 3), it 
is clear that there are also opponents of the revolution and 
inconsistent supporters of the revolution. That means that 
there is the "possibility" of the Duma as a whole "becoming 
a real centre" of inconsistent democratic politics and not 
of "the people's struggle for liberty and power". 

In such a case one of two things would happen: (1) either 
the confidence of the masses in that institution would not 
be aroused and strengthened, but would be reduced and 
weakened, or (2) the political consciousness of the masses 
would be corrupted on account of their mistaking the 
policy of inconsistent supporters of the revolution for a 
consistent democratic policy. 

From this it is perfectly clear that a conclusion, for some 
reason or other omitted by them, follows inevitably from 
the premises put forward by the Mensheviks — the party of the 
proletariat, of the consistent supporter of the revolution, 
must work persistently to ensure that those who are not 
fully consistent supporters of the revolution (the Trudoviks, 
for instance) should follow the working class against the 
inconsistent supporters of the revolution, particularly 
against the notorious supporters of stopping the revolution 
(the Cadets, for instance). 

As a result of the absence of this conclusion in the 
Mensheviks' draft they are quite unable to be consistent. It 
amounts to this: inasmuch as there are a considerable num- 
ber of "consistent supporters of the revolution" in the Duma, 
votes should be given to ... those who are known to be in 
favour of halting the revolution! 

This doesn't sound very good, does it, comrades? 

The concluding part of the resolution (taking it point 
by point) is as follows: 

"Social-Democracy, while exposing the illusory conception that 
the State Duma is really a legislative body, explains to the masses, 



on the one hand, the real nature of the Duma, which is actually an 
advisory body, and, on the other the possibility and necessity of 
using that body, despite its imperfections, to serve the purpose of a 
further struggle for popular power, and participates in the legisla- 
tive work of the Duma, being guided by the following principles:..." 

This is a weaker expression of the idea that was more 
strongly expressed in the Fourth (Unity) Congress resolu- 
tion in the part which speaks of "converting" the Duma 
into an "instrument of the revolution", of making the masses 
conscious of the "utter insurability" of the Duma, etc. 

"I. (a) Social-Democracy criticises, from the standpoint of the 
interests of the urban and rural proletariat and from that of consist- 
ent democratism, the proposals and bills of all non-proletarian par- 
ties, and puts forward its own demands and proposals in opposition 
to them; in this field it connects immediate political tasks with the 
social and economic needs of the proletarian masses and with the re- 
quirements of the working-class movement in all its forms. 

"Note. Whenever circumstances demand it, Social-Democracy 
supports, as a lesser evil, those bills of other parties which, if put into 
force, could become all instrument in the hands of the masses for use 
in the revolutionary struggle to attain real democratic liberty...." 

This note expresses the idea of the necessity for Social- 
Democrats to participate in bourgeois-reformist work in 
the Duma. Is it not too early for this, comrades? Have 
you yourselves not said that the concept of the Duma as a 
real legislative body is an illusory one? You want to sup- 
port those bourgeois bills that could be of benefit to the 
further struggle if they were put into force. 

Think over this condition — "if they were put into force". 
The purpose of your support is to facilitate the implemen- 
tation of the "lesser evil". But it is not the Duma that im- 
plements it, but the Duma plus the Council of State 81 
plus the supreme authority! This means that there is ab- 
solutely no guarantee that by giving your support you are 
facilitating the implementation of the "lesser evil". And 
by supporting the "lesser evil", by voting for it, you are 
taking upon yourselves, upon the proletarian party, some 
small part of the responsibility for half-way bourgeois re- 
formism, for what is, in essence, the Duma's work of sham 
legislation, which you yourselves admit to be sham legis- 



For what reason should you extend this risky "support"? 
There is the risk that it will cause a direct enfeeblement 
of that revolutionary consciousness of the masses to which 
you are yourselves appealing — and its practical value is 

You are not writing a resolution on reformist work in 
general (in which case it would be necessary to say merely 
that Social-Democracy does not renounce it); you are writ- 
ing about the Second Duma. You have already said that 
there are a considerable number of "consistent supporters 
of the revolution" in this Duma. You therefore have in 
mind a Duma with a party composition that is already 
defined. That is a fact. You know that in the present Duma 
there are not only "consistent* supporters of the revolu- 
tion" but also "inconsistent supporters of reforms" — not 
only Lefts and Trudoviks but also Cadets, these last-named 
in themselves being stronger than the Rights (Cadets and 
their allies, the Narodowci among them, being about 
150 against 100 Rights). With this situation in the Duma, 
there is no need for you to support the "lesser evil" for 
the sake of its implementation; it is quite enough for 
you to abstain in the struggle between the reactionaries 
and the "inconsistent supporters of reforms". The practical 
result (as far as the implementation of laws is concerned) 
will be the same, but as far as the ideological and political 
aspect is concerned, your undoubted gain will be the in- 
tegrity, purity, consistency and conviction of your posi- 
tion as a party of the revolutionary proletariat. 

Is this a circumstance that revolutionary Social-Democ- 
racy can afford to ignore? 

The Mensheviks are looking upward instead of looking 
downward. They are looking more to the feasibility of the 
"lesser evil" by means of a deal between the "inconsistent 
supporters of reforms" and the reactionaries (for such is 
the real meaning of the implementation of bills) than to 
the development of political consciousness and of poten- 
tialities for struggle in the "consistent supporters of the 
revolution", of whom, according to their own words, "there 

* I ask the reader to bear in mind the necessity for the correc- 
tion to this word I made earlier in the article. 



are a considerable number" in the Duma. The Mensheviks 
themselves are looking, and are teaching the people to look, 
for an agreement between the Cadets and the autocracy 
(the implementation of the "lesser evil", of reforms), and 
not to the possibility of turning the attention of the more 
or less "consistent supporters of the revolution" to the masses. 
This is a liberal, not a proletarian policy. This means that 
in word you are announcing the illusory nature of the 
Duma's legislative powers, and in deed are strengthening 
the people's faith in legislative reforms through the Duma 
and weakening their faith in revolutionary struggle. 

Be more consistent and more honest, Menshevik com- 
rades. If you are convinced that the revolution is over, if 
absence of faith in the revolution results from this convic- 
tion of yours (perhaps arrived at along scientific lines?), 
then there is no need to talk of revolution, then you must 
reduce your immediate aims to the struggle for reforms. 

If you believe what you say, if you really believe that 
"a considerable number" of deputies to the Second Duma 
are "consistent supporters of the revolution", you should 
give priority, not to support (support that is useless in 
practice and harmful ideologically) for reforms, but to 
raising the level of the revolutionary consciousness of those 
supporters, to consolidating their revolutionary organisa- 
tion and determination under the direct pressure of the 

Otherwise you would arrive at the height of illogicality 
and confusion; in the name of the development of the rev- 
olution, a working-class party does not, by a single word, 
define its tasks in respect of the more or less "consistent 
supporters of the revolution", but instead devotes a special 
note to the task of supporting the "lesser evil", the incon- 
sistent supporters of reformsl 

The "note" should be rewritten something like this: 
"In view of the fact that there are a considerable number of 
more or less consistent supporters of the revolution in the 
Duma, the Social-Democrats in the Duma must, when dis- 
cussing those bills which the inconsistent supporters of 
reforms wish to implement, pay critical attention chiefly 
to the half-and-half nature and unreliability of those bills, 
to the agreement therein contained between the liberals 



and the reactionaries, and to explaining to the more or less 
consistent supporters of the revolution the necessity for a 
decisive and ruthless revolutionary struggle. During the 
voting on those bills which constitute the lesser evil, the 
Social-Democrats abstain from voting and leave the liber- 
als themselves to 'conquer' reaction on paper and to answer 
to the people for the implementation of 'liberal' reforms 
under the autocracy." 

"...(b) The Social-Democrats make use of the discussion on var- 
ious bills and on the state budget in order to expose, not only the 
negative sides of the existing regime, but also all the class contra- 
dictions of bourgeois society...." 

An excellent aim. In order to expose the class contra- 
dictions of bourgeois society, the parties must be associat- 
ed with classes. We must struggle against the "non-party", 
"single opposition" spirit in the Duma, and ruthlessly ex- 
pose the narrow class character of, for instance, the Cadets, 
who claim more than anybody to conceal "class contradic- 
tions" by the catchword of "people's freedom". 

We would like the Mensheviks not only to speak of ex- 
posing the class contradictions of bourgeois society (and 
"not only" of the infamy of the autocracy), but also to do 

"...(c) On the question of the budget the Social-Democrats are 
guided by the principle: 'not a kopek for a non-responsible govern- 

A good principle, which would be really excellent if, 
instead of "non-responsible" some other word were used 
indicating, not the government's responsibility to the Duma 
(a fiction under the present "constitution"), but its "respon- 
sibility" to the supreme authority (this is not fiction but 
reality, since the people have no actual power, and the 
Mensheviks themselves speak of the impending "struggle 
for power"). 

It should read: "not a kopek for the government until 
all power is vested in the people". 

"II. The Social-Democrats make use of the right to interpellation 
in order to expose to the people the true nature of the present gov- 
ernment and the fact that all its actions are contradictory to the 
interests of the people; to explain the condition of the working class 



is town and countryside, and the conditions of that class's struggle 
for the improvement of its political and economic position; to throw 
light on the role played, in respect of the working class, by the gov- 
ernment and its agents and by the propertied classes and the polit- 
ical parties that represent them...." 

A very good point. Only it is a pity that till now (March 
19) our Social-Democrats in the Duma have made little 
use of the right to interpellation. 

"...III. By maintaining the closest contact with the working- 
class masses in the course of this work, and striving, through their 
legislative activities, to give expression to the organised working- 
class movement, the Social-Democrats foster organisation of the work- 
ers, and of the masses of the people in general, to support the Duma 
in its struggle against the old regime and to create conditions ena- 
bling the Duma to carry its activities beyond the bounds of the funda- 
mental laws that hamper it...." 

First: one cannot speak of the "legislative" activities of 
the Social-Democrats. One should say "Duma activities". 

Secondly; the slogan — "support" the Duma in its struggle 
against the old regime" — does not in any way accord with 
the premises of the resolution, and is incorrect in essence. 

The preamble to the resolution speaks of the revolution- 
ary struggle for power and of the presence in the Duma of 
"a considerable number of consistent supporters of the 

Why is the perfectly clear, revolutionary category of 
"struggle for power" changed here to a diffuse "struggle 
against the old regime", that is, to an expression that ac- 
tually includes the reformist struggle? Should not the 
motives in the preamble be changed so that, in place of 
an "illusory" struggle for power, "the task of struggling for 
reforms" should be advanced? 

Why should you speak here of the masses giving support 
to "the Duma" and not to the "consistent supporters of the 
revolution"? It appears that the Mensheviks call on the 
masses to support the inconsistent supporters of reforms! 
It doesn't sound very good, does it, comrades? 

Lastly, the words about supporting the "Duma" in its 
struggle against the old regime in effect engender complete- 
ly incorrect ideas. To support the Duma means to support 
the majority in the Duma. The majority is the Cadets plus 



the Trudoviks. Which means that you, by implication, 
i.e., without saying so directly, are providing a character- 
istic for the Cadets — they "are struggling against the old 

This characteristic is untrue and incomplete. Such things 
are not said by dropping half a hint. They have to be stated 
clearly and directly. The Cadets are not "struggling against 
the old regime", but are trying to reform that old regime, 
to renew it, by coming to an agreement, as is now perfectly 
clear and obvious, with the old authorities. 

Saying nothing about this in the resolution, keeping it 
in the shade, means lapsing from the proletarian into the 
liberal point of view. 

"...IV. By this activity of theirs the Social-Democrats aid the 
development of the popular movement aimed at winning a constit- 
uent assembly, and will support, as a stage in this struggle of the 
people, all the efforts of the State Duma to subordinate the executive 
power to itself, in this way clearing the soil for the transfer of all 
state power into the hands of the people...." 

This is the most important point in the resolution, and 
it contains the notorious slogan of a "Duma", or "respon- 
sible" ministry. This point must be examined from the 
standpoint of its wording and of its meaning. 

The point is worded in and extremely peculiar way. The 
Mensheviks must know that this is one of the most impor- 
tant questions. And they must know that this slogan has once 
already been proposed by the Central Committee of our 
Party — at the time of the First Duma — and that at that time 
the Party did not accept the slogan. This is so perfectly true 
that not even the Social-Democratic group in the First 
Duma — consisting, as we know, exclusively of Mensheviks 
and having as its leader such an outstanding Menshevik as 
Comrade Jordania — even that group did not accept the 
slogan of a "responsible ministry", and did not once include 
it in any Duma speech! 

It would seem that this is more than enough for a par- 
ticularly attentive attitude to the question. But instead 
we have before us the most carelessly worded point in a 
resolution, on the whole, insufficiently considered. 

Why has this new, far more hazy formulation been 
selected instead of a clear-cut slogan of a "responsible 



ministry" (Plekhanov in Russkaya Zhizn) or a "ministry of 
the Duma majority" (the resolution of the C.C. in the period 
of the First Duma)? Is this only a rephrasing of that same 
"responsible ministry", or is it something different? Let us 
examine these questions. 

How could the Duma subordinate executive power to 
itself? Either legally, on the basis of the present (or a slight- 
ly changed) monarchist constitution, or illegally, "carrying 
its activities beyond the bounds of the fundamental laws 
that hamper it", overthrowing the old power, turning it- 
self into a revolutionary convention, into a provisional 
government, etc. The first possibility is precisely that 
which is usually expressed by the words "a Duma, or re- 
sponsible, ministry". The second possibility means active 
participation on the part of the "Duma" (i.e., the majority 
in the Duma) in the direct revolutionary struggle for power. 
There can be no other way of subordinating executive power 
to the Duma, and there is no sense in here raising the par- 
ticular question of how the different ways could be inter- 
woven; we are not confronted with the academic, scientific 
question of what situations are, in general, possible, but 
with the practical political question of what the Social- 
Democrats should, and should not, support in the 

The conclusion to be drawn from this is obvious. The 
new wording seems to have been deliberately planned to 
conceal the essence of the point at issue, the real will of 
the congress, of which the resolution should be an expres- 
sion. The slogan of a "responsible ministry" has been and 
still is the cause of sharp disputes between Social-Demo- 
crats. Support for revolutionary Duma measures has not 
only never given rise to sharp disputes, but has probably 
never led to any differences among Social-Democrats. What 
should be said about people who have proposed a resolution 
that glosses over differences by uniting the disputed and 
the indisputable in one general, diffuse formulation? What 
is to be said about people who have proposed that a deci- 
sion of the congress should be recorded in words that do 
not decide anything but enable some readers to understand 
these words as meaning revolutionary measures by the 
Duma, "beyond the bounds", etc., and others to under- 



stand by them a deal concluded between Milyukov and 
Stolypin on the Cadets joining the ministry? 

The politest thing that can be said about people who act 
in this way is that they are retreating, casting a veil over 
the once openly expressed and clear-cut programme of 
support for a Cadet ministry. 

In future, therefore, we shall disregard this muddled 
wording, which hopelessly confuses the issue. We shall 
speak only of the essence of the question, that of supporting 
the demand for a "responsible" (or a Cadet — which is the 
same thing) ministry. 

How does the resolution motivate this necessity to sup- 
port the demand for a Duma or responsible ministry? By 
the statement that "it is a stage in the people's struggle 
for a constituent assembly", that it is "a basis for the trans- 
fer of all power into the hands of the people". This is the 
whole of the motive. We shall answer it with a brief sum- 
mary of our arguments against Social-Democracy support- 
ing the demand for a Duma ministry. 

(1) It is absolutely impermissible for a Marxist to con- 
fine himself to the abstract juridical contraposition of a 
"responsible" to a "non-responsible" ministry, a "Duma" 
ministry to an autocratic ministry, etc., in the way Ple- 
khanov does in Russkaya Zhizn and in the way the Menshe- 
viks have always done in their analysis of this question. It 
is a liberal-idealist, not proletarian-materialist, argument. 

The class significance of the measures under discussion 
must be studied. If this is done, it will be understood that 
their content is a bargain, or an attempt at a bargain, be- 
tween the autocracy and the liberal bourgeoisie to put an 
end to the revolution. That is precisely the objective eco- 
nomic significance of a Duma ministry. The Bolsheviks, 
therefore, had every right and reason to say that a Duma, 
or responsible, ministry is in actual fact a Cadet ministry. 
The Mensheviks were angry and shouted about trickery, 
juggling, etc. But they were angry because they did not 
want to understand the Bolshevik arguments, which reduced 
the juridical fiction (a Duma ministry would be "respon- 
sible" to the monarch rather than to the Duma, to the 
liberal landlords rather than to the people!) to its class basis. 
And no matter how angry Comrade Martov may get, no 



matter how vehemently he may argue that even now the 
Duma is not a Cadet Duma, he cannot by a jot lessen the 
indisputable conclusion: in essence, the case is precisely 
one of a Cadet ministry, since that bourgeois liberal party 
is the gist of the matter. A possible coalition Duma min- 
istry (Cadets, plus Octobrists, plus "non-party", plus, 
even, any kind of "Trudovik" or alleged "Left", etc.) would 
not in any way change the essence of the matter. To evade 
the essence of the matter in the way the Mensheviks and 
Plekhanov do means to evade Marxism. 

Support for the demand for a Duma, or "responsible", 
ministry is, at bottom, support for Cadet policy in general 
and a Cadet ministry in particular (as was said in the first 
Bolshevik draft resolution for the Fifth Congress). Whoever 
is afraid to admit this is thereby admitting the weakness 
of his position, the weakness of the arguments in favour of 
Social-Democratic support for the Cadets in general. 

We have always maintained, and still maintain, that the 
Social-Democrats cannot support a deal between the autoc- 
racy and the liberal bourgeoisie, a deal that aims at put- 
ting an end to the revolution. 

(2) The Mensheviks always regard a Duma ministry as a 
step for the better, as something that will make the further 
struggle for the revolution easier, and the resolution under 
discussion clearly expresses this idea. But in this the Men- 
sheviks are making a mistake, are being one-sided. A Marx- 
ist cannot guarantee the full victory of the present bour- 
geois revolution in Russia; to do so would be bourgeois- 
democratic idealism and utopianism. Our task is to strive 
for the full victory of the revolution, but we have no right 
to forget that there have been in the past, and there still 
can be, unfinished, half-and-half bourgeois revolutions. 

The Mensheviks word their resolution as though a Duma 
ministry were an essential stage in the struggle for a con- 
stituent assembly, etc., etc. This is quite untrue. A Marx- 
ist has no right to examine a Duma ministry from this 
angle alone, ignoring the objective possibility of two types 
of economic development in Russia. A bourgeois-democratic 
coup is inevitable in Russia. But it is possible if the land- 
lord system of economy is retained and gradually changed 
into a Junker-capitalist (Stolypin's and liberal agrarian 



reform); it is also possible if the landlord system of econ- 
omy is abolished and the land handed over to the peas- 
antry (the peasant revolution, supported by the Social- 
Democratic agrarian programme). 

The Marxist must examine the Cadet ministry from both 
angles and not from one alone — as a possible stage in the 
struggle for a constituent assembly, and as a possible stage 
in the liquidation of the bourgeois revolution. It is the in- 
tention of the Cadets and of Stolypin that the ministry 
should play the latter role; objective conditions are such 
that it can play both the latter and the former role* 

By forgetting the possibility (and the danger) of the 
liberals cutting short and stopping the bourgeois revolution, 
the Mensheviks are lapsing from the viewpoint of the class 
struggle of the proletariat into that of liberals, who paint 
the monarchy, land redemption payments, two chambers, 
the cessation of the revolution, etc., in such bright colours. 

(3) Going over from the economic, class aspect of the 
question to the state, juridical aspect, it must be said that 
the Mensheviks regard a Duma ministry as a step towards 
parliamentarianism, as a reform that perfects the constitu- 
tional system and facilitates its use by the proletariat for 
its class struggle. This, again, is a one-sided point of 
view, one that sees only what pleases the eye. In the act of 
appointing ministers from the Duma majority (which is 
precisely what the Cadets wanted in the First Duma) one 
very significant feature of the reform is absent — there is no 
legislative recognition of certain general changes in the 
constitution. The act is to a certain extent individual, 
even personal. It depends on bargains, negotiations and 
conditions behind the scenes. No wonder Rech now (March 
1907!) admits that in June 1906, there were negotiations 
between the Constitutional-Democrats and the government 
that are still not (!) subject to publication. Even the Cadet 
Tovarishch, which sings the Cadet tune, admitted the im- 

* We make the very best assumption for Plekhanov and the Men- 
sheviks, i.e., that the Cadets will put forward the demand for a Duma 
ministry. It is more probable that they will not do so. Then Plekhanov 
(and the Mensheviks) will be as ridiculous on account of his "sup- 
port" for a slogan the liberals have not advanced, as he was with his 
Duma with full powers". 



permissibility of this game of hide and seek. And it is not 
surprising that (according to newspaper reports) Pobedo- 
nostsev could propose this measure — appoint liberal, Cadet 
ministers and then dissolve the Duma and replace the min- 
istry! This would not be an abolition of the reform, or a 
change in the law — it would be a fully "constitutional act" 
by the monarch. By supporting the Cadet desire for a Duma 
ministry the Mensheviks were, against their own wishes 
and their own conscience, in fact supporting negotiations 
and deals behind the scenes, behind the backs of the people. 

In so doing, the Mensheviks did not and could not ob- 
tain any "commitments" from the Cadets. They gave them 
support, on credit, and brought confusion and corruption 
into the consciousness of the working class. 

(4) Let us make another concession to the Mensheviks. 
Let us imagine the best possible case, i.e., that the act of 
appointing the Duma ministers is not only a personal act, 
is not merely done for show, to deceive the people, but is 
the first step in real constitutional reform, which actually 
does improve the proletariat's conditions of struggle. 

Even so the Social-Democrats cannot be justified in com- 
ing out with a slogan supporting the demand for a Duma 

You say that it is a stage on the way towards improve- 
ment, that it provides the ground for the future struggle? 
Let us suppose that it is. But would not universal, but 
indirect, suffrage also be a probable stage on the way to- 
wards improvement? Then why not announce that Social- 
Democrats support the demand for universal, but indirect, 
suffrage, as a "stage" in the struggle for the "tetrad for- 
mula", as "ground for the transition" to that formula? Not 
only would the Cadets be with us in this, but even the 
Party of Democratic Reform 82 and part of the Octobrists! An 
"all-national" stage towards the people's struggle for a con- 
stituent assembly — that is what Social-Democratic support 
for universal suffrage, but indirect and not by secret ballot, 
would mean! 

In principle, there is absolutely no difference between 
supporting the demand for a Duma ministry and support- 
ing the demand for universal suffrage that is indirect and 
not by secret ballot. 



To justify the issue of the slogan of a "responsible min- 
istry" by saying that it is a stage towards the better, etc., 
means failure to understand the fundamentals of the at- 
titude of Social-Democracy to bourgeois reformism. 

Every reform is a reform (and not a reactionary and not 
a conservative measure) only insofar as it constitutes a 
certain step, a "stage", for the better. But every reform in 
capitalist society has a double character. A reform is a 
concession made by the ruling classes in order to stem, 
weaken, or conceal the revolutionary struggle, in order to 
split the forces and energy of the revolutionary classes, to 
befog their consciousness, etc. 

Therefore, revolutionary Social-Democracy, while by no 
means renouncing the use of reforms for the purpose of de- 
veloping the revolutionary class struggle ("we accept pay- 
ments on account" — wir nehmen auch Abschlagszahlung, 
said Frederick Engels 83 ), will under no circumstances make 
half-way bourgeois-reformist slogans "their own".* 

To do so would be acting exactly as Bernstein would 
(Plekhanov will have to rehabilitate Bernstein in order to 
defend his present policy! No wonder Bernstein's periodi- 
cal, Sozialistische Monatshefte, has such high praise for 
Plekhanov!); it would mean turning Social-Democracy 
into "a democratic-socialist party of reform" (Bernstein's 
notorious statement in his Premises of Socialism). 

Social-Democracy regards reforms, and makes use of 
them, as a by-product of the revolutionary class struggle 
of the proletariat. 

And now we come to the last of our arguments against 
the slogan under discussion: 

(5) In what way can Social-Democracy actually bring 
nearer the implementation of all kinds of reform in general, 
constitutional reforms in Russia in particular, and especially 
a Duma ministry with results beneficial to the proletariat? Can 
it do so by making the slogans of the bourgeois reformists 
"its own", or by decisively refusing to make such slogans 
"its own" and by continuing unswervingly to conduct the 

* Plekhanov in Russkaya Zhizn: "...Social-Democratic deputies 
must make the above demand ["a responsible ministry"] their own in 
the interests of the people, in the interests of the revolution...." 



revolutionary class struggle of the proletariat under the 
banner of complete, uncurtailed slogans? It is not difficult 
to answer this question. 

By making bourgeois-reformist slogans that are always 
half-baked, always curtailed and always two-faced "our 
own", we are actually not strengthening but weakening the 
probability, possibility and proximity of the implemen- 
tation of the reform. The real force giving rise to reforms 
is the force of the revolutionary proletariat, of its con- 
sciousness, solidarity and unwavering determination in 
the struggle. 

These are the qualities of the mass movement that we 
weaken and paralyse by giving our bourgeois-reformist 
slogans to the masses. The usual bourgeois sophistry says 
that by conceding something from our revolutionary de- 
mands and slogans (for instance, by demanding a "Duma 
ministry" instead of "sovereignty of the people", or a con- 
stituent assembly as a "stage", etc.), we are making it 
more probable that this lesser measure will be implemented, 
since both the proletariat and part of the bourgeoisie will 
be in favour of it. 

International Social-Democracy says that this is bour- 
geois sophistry because we thereby lessen the probability 
of a reform being implemented; because, in trying to win 
the sympathies of the bourgeoisie, which continually makes 
concessions against its will, we are lessening the revolu- 
tionary consciousness of the masses, are blunting and cor- 
rupting that consciousness. We are adapting ourselves to 
the bourgeoisie, to its deal with the monarchy, and thereby 
harming the development of the revolutionary struggle of 
the masses. In consequence of all this, the reforms are 
either non-existent on account of these tactics or they are 
an unadulterated deception. The only sound basis for re- 
forms, the one serious guarantee that they will not be 
fictitious, will be used for the benefit of the people, is the 
independent revolutionary struggle of the proletariat that 
does not lower the level of its slogans. 

Since June 1906, the Mensheviks have been offering the 
masses a slogan in support of the demand for a Duma min- 
istry. By so doing, they weaken and blunt the revolution- 
ary consciousness of the masses, reduce the scope of agi- 



tation, decrease the probability of this reform being imple- 
mented and the possibility of its being used. 

We must increase revolutionary agitation among the 
masses; we must give wider scope to our full-fledged, un- 
curtailed slogans; we must develop them clearly — in this 
way we shall at best bring nearer the full victory of the 
revolution, and at worst we shall capture some half-con- 
cessions (such as a Duma ministry, universal, but indirect, 
suffrage, etc.) and give ourselves the possibility of turning 
them into a weapon of the revolution. Reforms are a by- 
product of the class struggle of the revolutionary prole- 
tariat. To make it "our own" business to obtain this by-prod- 
uct would mean lapsing into liberal bourgeois reformism. 

* * 

The last point of the resolution: 

"V. Regarding activities in the Duma as one of the forms of class 
struggle, the Social-Democratic group in the Duma retains complete 
independence, in each individual case entering into agreement with 
those parties that are interested in the struggle against the old re- 
gime for the triumph of political liberty, for aggressive action with 
those parties and groups whose aims at a given moment coincide with 
the aims of the proletariat, and for defensive action intended to pre- 
serve popular representation itself and its rights." 

The second part of this is as bad and outlandish as the 
first part (as far as the word "entering") is good. 

What is this ridiculous differentiation between "aggres- 
sive" and "defensive" action? Are our Mensheviks not re- 
calling the language of Russkiye Vedomosti in the nineties 
of the last century, when the liberals tried to prove that 
liberalism in Russia does the "protecting" and that reaction 
is "aggressive"? Just imagine: instead of the "old" division 
of political action into revolutionary and reformist, revo- 
lutionary and counter-revolutionary, parliamentary and 
extra-parliamentary, Marxists are offering us a new classi- 
fication — "defensive" action "protects" what we have, "ag- 
gressive" action goes farther! Have you got a shred of con- 
science, Menshevik comrades? To what extent must one 
lose all feeling for the revolutionary class struggle before 
one can fail to notice the vulgar flavour of this differentia- 
tion between the "aggressive" and the "defensive"! 



And how amusingly, like an object in a distorting mir- 
ror, does this helpless formulation reflect the bitter truth 
(bitter for the Mensheviks) that they will not openly admit! 
The Mensheviks are in the habit of talking about parties 
in general, and are afraid to name them or clearly delineate 
them; they are in the habit of casting the veil of generic 
names over them — "oppositional-democratic parties" — over 
Cadets and Lefts alike. Now they feel that a change is com- 
ing. They feel that the liberals are now actually capable 
of doing nothing more than protect (by means of genufle- 
xion, in the same way as Russkiye Vedomosti "protected" 
the Zemstvos 84 in the eighties!) the existing Duma and the 
existing (pardon the word) "constitution" of ours. The Men- 
sheviks feel that the liberal bourgeoisie cannot and does 
not want to go farther (be "aggressive" — since such nasty 
terms exist!). And the Mensheviks have displayed this 
vague consciousness of the true in amusing and extreme- 
ly confused wording that means literally that the Social- 
Democrats are capable, at some time, of entering into an 
agreement for action "whose aims" do not coincide with 
the aims of the proletariat! 

This final chord of the Menshevik resolution, this amus- 
ing fear of telling the truth openly and clearly — i.e., 
that the liberal bourgeoisie, the Constitutional-Democrats, 
have completely ceased to help the revolution — magnificent- 
ly expresses the whole spirit of the resolution under con- 


The above lines had been written when I received the 
resolution passed by the February (1907) Conference of the 
League of the Estonian Area of the R.S.D.L.P. 85 

Two Menshevik comrades, M. and A., spoke (presumably 
from the Central Committee) at this conference. During 
the discussion on the question of the State Duma they ap- 
parently tabled that very resolution that I have analysed 
above. It will be extremely instructive to see what amend- 
ments the Estonian Social-Democrat comrades made to 
this resolution. Here is the resolution in full, as passed by 
the conference: 




"The State Duma has neither the authority nor the force to sat- 
isfy the needs of the people because power is still in the hands of 
the enemies of the people, the tsarist autocracy, the bureaucracy 
and a handful of landlords. The Social-Democrats, therefore, must 
ruthlessly destroy the illusory hopes of the present State Duma hav- 
ing legislative powers, and make it clear to the people that only 
an authoritative all-national constituent assembly, freely elected 
by the people after the tsarist autocracy has been overthrown, will 
be capable of meeting the people's demands. 

"For the purpose of developing the class-consciousness of the 
proletariat, for the political education of the masses of the people, 
for the development and organisation of the revolutionary forces, 
Social-Democracy must make use even of this impotent, helpless 
State Duma. In view of this, Social-Democracy participates in the 
activities of the State Duma on the following terms: 

"I. Proceeding from the interests of the urban and rural proletar- 
iat and from the principles of consistent democratism, Social-De- 
mocracy criticises all proposals and bills submitted by the govern- 
ment and the bourgeois parties and also the state budget, and opposes 
them with its own demands and bills, and in so doing proceeds 
always from the demands and needs of broad masses of the people 
and by such activity exposes the effeteness of the existing system and 
the class contradictions of bourgeois society. 

"II. Social-Democracy uses the right of interpellation in order 
to lay bare the essence and nature of the present government and to 
show the people that all the latter's activity is contrary to the inte- 
rests of the people, in order to make clear the underprivileged posi- 
tion of the working class and throw light on the role played by the 
government and the ruling classes and by the parties they support, 
in respect of the working class. Among other things, Social-Democ- 
racy must struggle against the Cadet Party, with its compromises 
and treachery, and unmask its half heartedness and hypocritical 
democratism in order to liberate the revolutionary petty bourgeoi- 
sie from its leadership and influence and compel them to follow the 

"III. In the State Duma, Social-Democracy, as the party of the 
working class, must always act independently. Social-Democracy 
must conclude no permanent agreements or pacts that might hamper 
its freedom of action with other revolutionary or opposition parties 
in the Duma. In individual cases, when the aims and measures of 
other parties coincide with those of Social-Democracy, the latter can 
and must enter into negotiations with other parties on those measures. 

"IV. Insofar as the people cannot come to any agreements with 
the present feudal-minded government, and insofar as only an au- 
thoritative constituent assembly would be in a position to meet the 
people's demands and needs, the conference is of the opinion that 
the struggle for a ministry responsible to the present impotent Duma 
is not the task of the proletariat. The proletariat must fight under 



the flag of a constituent assembly and not under that of a responsible 

"V. While conducting this struggle, the Social-Democratic group 
in the State Duma must bind itself by the closest ties to the prole- 
tarian and other masses outside the Duma and, by assisting these 
masses to organise, must build up a revolutionary army for the over- 
throw of the autocracy." 

No comment is required. In my article I have tried to 
show how resolutions like the one I have dealt with should 
not be written. In their resolution the Estonian revolu- 
tionary Social-Democrats have shown how unsuitable reso- 
lutions should be amended. 



Our correspondent has also sent us the Rules of the League 
of the Estonian Area of the R.S.D.L.P., adopted at the con- 
ference. We are unable to print them owing to lack of space. 

We call our readers' attention to the resolution on the 
Duma. It is quite obvious that the resolution of the Men- 
sheviks, published in Russkaya Zhizn, No. 47, served as 
the basis for it; the influence exerted by the Mensheviks 
M. and A. was confined to this. The Estonian Social-Demo- 
crats have recast all the militant parts of the resolution in a 
fine Bolshevik spirit (especially the part about the Cadets 
and the "responsible ministry"). An excellent example of 
"amendments" to Menshevik resolutions! 

Proletary, No. 15, 
March 25, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 



St. Petersburg, March 21, 1907. 

The situation has undergone considerable change since 
the leading article in Proletary, No. 14,* was written 
three weeks ago. The government and the Cadets, the Black- 
Hundred autocracy and the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie 
have taken a step towards one another, and are preparing 
to join hands and strangle the revolution by their joint 
efforts and, instead of land and freedom, hand out miserly 
doles to the people, condemning them to an existence of 
semi-starvation and semi-slavery. Let us examine more 
closely the situation now obtaining. 

Two questions lie as heavy as a stone on the heart of 
the Black-Hundred autocracy— the budget, and the agrar- 
ian question. There can be no credits unless the budget 
is approved by the Duma. There can be no hope of even a 
brief period of calm unless the open ulcer of the land ques- 
tion is hidden, at least for the time being. The government 
will not dare dissolve the Duma without a budget and an 
agrarian law the latter has approved. The government is 
afraid to dissolve the Duma and, at the same time, is voci- 
ferating about dissolution and is putting into motion the 
entire Black-Hundred machinery of the Union of the Rus- 
sian People so as to scare the timid and incline the waver- 
ing to compliance. It wants to try and drag concessions 
out of the Duma by gagging it with the threat of dissolu- 
tion. Well, then it will see what is to be done with the 
disgraced, befouled and filth-bespattered "lofty" assembly. 
This explains the request to approve the budget and the 

See pp. 184-88 of this volume.— Ed. 



assurances that the Minister of Finance does not even dream 
of requesting the State Duma to sanction a loan. This ex- 
plains the correct tone of Mr. Vasilchikov's speeches to the 
effect that the government "will preserve the inviolability 
of those boundaries at which the interests of individuals, 
different groups and different social-estates meet" but, 
at the same time, "recognises its duty to extend that pre- 
servation only insofar as the boundaries mentioned coin- 
cide with the general interests of the state. Wherever the 
boundaries do not coincide with those interests they must 
be shifted". In these words, especially those we have 
stressed, there is undoubtedly a scarcely perceptible nod 
of the head in the direction of the Cadets, a slight hint at 
the possibility of Cadet "compulsory alienation". 

How do the Cadets respond to all these scarcely percep- 
tible advances? Oh, they are bending all their efforts to 
make the imperceptible perceptible, to make open and 
stated in full that which is hidden behind mysterious hints 
and reservations. They are therefore making incomparably 
more advances to the government, are opening up their 
hearts, although, with their customary caution, they are 
holding out their hands timidly and only half-way, in 
order to take hold of Mr. Stolypin's forefinger, condescend- 
ingly held out to them. In its March 18 issue, Rech, the 
Cadets' mouthpiece, proclaimed to the whole world that 
the "party of people's freedom" is concluding preparation 
of a new agrarian bill which will make this party "the best- 
armed for a business-like discussion of the land question", 
and that "the new presentation of the question has paid 
greater attention to what is generally known as the real 
alignment of forces". At the next day's session of the Duma, 
Deputy Kutler pronounced a truly "business-like" speech, 
in which he somewhat (though far from fully) raised the 
veil that has so far modestly covered the "realism" and 
"business-like character" of this new outcome of the Cadet 
Party's legislative efforts. In the present case, as far as can 
be understood, business-like realism boils down to, first 
of all, giving the peasants in many localities, instead of 
the "subsistence standard"* of land, a much smaller amount — 

* See Note 98.— Tr. 



"as much as is available", as Mr. Kutler very indefinitely 
puts it. Apparently it works out this way — that many 
millions of dessiatines of landowners' property may remain 
unalienated even under "compulsory alienation". This 
means "shifting the boundaries somewhat", as Mr. Vasil- 
chikov puts it. The second feature typifying the "realism" 
of the new bill is outlined by Mr. Kutler in the following 
terms: "the lands that are to be transferred to the peasants" 
must "be made the absolute property of the peasants" so 
that "these lands will not under any circumstances be taken 
from them in the future", they will be "transferred to the 
peasants for their use in perpetuity and not temporarily", 
and in so doing it will be necessary "to limit only the right 
of alienation and of mortgage". All this again comes very 
close to the "intention" of the government, proclaimed 
through its mouthpiece, Mr. Vasilchikov, "to extend the 
advantages, accruing from the principles of property, to 
that tremendous area of peasant-owned land that has so 
far been deprived of those advantages". And, lastly, the 
third sign of the "business-like nature" of the new Cadet 
agrarian bill deserves special attention: formerly it was 
assumed that compensation for the land would be met by 
the Treasury, but now "a certain part of the expenses that 
occur as a result of the land reform must be met by the 
peasants themselves, to the extent of about one half". And 
in what way does this differ from the contribution of one 
half of the land redemption payments to be met by the peas- 
ants that was established by the government for 1906? 
The concord, in principle, between the Cadet agrarian bill 
and the "designs" of the government therefore becomes fairly 
obvious. The fact that the Cadet compulsory alienation of 
the land is pure fiction makes it still less open to doubt; 
who will do the "compelling" in the Cadet land committees 
when they will consist half of peasants and half of land- 
lords, with government officials "reconciling" their interests? 
A clean deal! Not for nothing did the Rech commentator on 
Duma affairs say on March 20, with reference to Mr. Vasilchi- 
kov's speech: "this presentation of the question means that 
things are being tackled in business-like fashion". This is, 
indeed, the highest praise from the lips of the Cadets of 



As far as the budget is concerned, the conciliatory stand 
taken by the Cadets towards the Black-Hundred autocracy 
is outlined with sufficient clarity in an editorial in that 
same March 20 issue of Rech. The rumour that "the party of 
people's freedom proposes rejecting the budget as a whole" 
is called "a patent lie", and the assurance is given that the 
"people's representatives will probably approve, with cer- 
tain changes, the budget for 1907" and, lastly — listen to 
this, gentlemen! — it is asserted that "if the Duma is given 
proof that the Minister of Finance is prepared to go half- 
way in extending its rights [within the bounds of the "fun- 
damental laws", of course — see above in the same article], 
this may engender among its members greater confidence 
in the government", and, indeed, "if the Duma had grounds 
for trusting the Minister of Finance it could agree to a 
formula that would be tantamount to permission to borrow 
as much as is needed'" (our italics). This is a gem that wor- 
thily concludes the long list of disgraceful concessions, all 
this retailing of people's freedom — it had to be retail sel- 
ling so that, in the end, the people's freedom could be sold 

Anyone with the patience to follow up all the details 
of this shameful deal between the Black Hundreds and the 
liberal bourgeoisie, insofar as they have become clear at 
the present moment, can no longer be in doubt — the coun- 
ter-revolutionary forces are being organised to deal a 
final, mortal blow at the great emancipation movement, to 
crush strong and bold fighters and to deceive and remove 
the naive, the timid and the vacillating. The Rights, the 
Polish Kolo 81 and the Cadets are uniting in one body to 
deal that blow. The government is scaring the Cadets and 
the Trudoviks with the howling of the Black Hundreds — 
set at them by the government itself — who demand the 
dissolution of the Duma and the abolition of the "foul 
constitution". The Cadets are scaring the Trudoviks by 
reference to those same howls and by alleging that Stolypin 
intends to dissolve the Duma immediately. The Black- 
Hundred autocracy and the liberal bourgeoisie need all 
these threats and fears the better to come to an agreement 
behind the backs of the people, so that, having amicably 
shared the spoils, they may plunder the people. Trudoviks 



of all shades — do not allow yourselves to be tricked! Stand 
guard over the interests of the people! Prevent this filthy 
deal between the Cadets and the government! Social- 
Democrat comrades! We are certain you will understand the 
situation, that you will stand at the head of all revolutionary 
elements in the Duma, that you will open the eyes of the 
Trudoviks to the shameful treachery of the liberal-mon- 
archist bourgeoisie. We are sure that from the rostrum of 
the Duma you will loudly and boldly expose this treachery 
to the whole people. 

Proletary, No. 15, 
March 25, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 



"T/ie Tactical Platform for the Coming Congress, pre- 
pared by Martov, Dan, Starover, Martynov and others, 
with the participation of a group of Menshevik practicians" 
has been issued as a separate leaflet. 

The relation between this platform and the resolution 
on the State Duma, drawn up by the same Menshevik lead- 
ers and published in Russkaya Zhizn, No. 47, is not yet 
known. The leaflet we are speaking of does not say a single 
word as to whether it is proposed to work out in greater 
detail the tactical opinions expressed in it, in the form of 
draft resolutions, precisely on which questions, etc. This 
lack of clarity is regrettable because the "Tactical Platform" 
itself is worded very diffusely and indefinitely. To show 
this we are giving in full the last three theses of the plat- 
form; these outline the "current tasks of Social-Democracy 
in the immediate future"; we shall begin with the third 

"...(3) The development of the independent political and organi- 
sational activities of the working-class masses on the basis of the 
defence of their interests as a class of wage-workers. Assistance by 
Party groups for the organisations that are being built up among 
wide sections of the proletariat on the basis of the struggle to 
satisfy their immediate trade, political and cultural needs, on the 
basis of struggle to retain and extend the concessions they have 
wrested from the old system." 

Could you possibly imagine anything more diffuse, vague 
and empty? Is this a "tactical platform" for the 1907 con- 
gress, or is it an excerpt from a popular article on the tasks 
of the working class in general? 

As we know, the agenda for the congress includes items 
on trades unions, a labour congress and councils of dele- 



gates — these are all concrete questions of today, of the 
present stage of development of the working-class movement. 
And we are treated to platitudes and empty phrases about 
"independent activities", as though there were a deliberate 
desire to conceal their ideas concerning the questions that 
have been presented by reality and by the Party! This is 
not a platform, comrades, but a pro forma statement. There 
already exists considerable Party literature on such ques- 
tions as a labour congress, ranging from articles in the 
Party's official paper Sotsial-Demokrat ss to a number of 
pamphlets. A platform is drawn up to provide an answer 
that is to the point, and not to evade the issue. 

"...(2) A determined ideological struggle against all attempts to 
limit the class independence of the proletariat, against inculcation 
of reactionary petty-bourgeois illusions in proletarian consciousness 
and against all tendencies leading to the substitution of anarchic 
terror and adventurous plotting for the organised class struggle." 

Wrathfully put. Clearly the authors wanted to give 
vent to their ire. That, of course, is their right, and we 
would be the last to complain of sharpness in a polemic. 
Polemise as trenchantly as you like, only say plainly what 
you mean. Your second point, however, says absolutely 
nothing definite. It "is aimed", as one may guess, at the 
Bolsheviks, but it misses the mark on account of its diffuse 
wording. All Bolsheviks would, of course, agree to subscribe 
in full to the condemnation of anarchic terror, "adventurous 
plotting", "reactionary petty-bourgeois illusions" and "at- 
tempts to limit class independence". 

Let us give the Menshevik comrades some good advice. 
If you want to engage in sharper polemics with the Bolshe- 
viks, comrades, and want to "wound" them more seriously, 
then please compile resolutions that will be unacceptable 
to us. You must open all the parentheses and not cast a new 
veil over questions presented long ago! Take an example 
from us: our draft resolution on non-party political organ- 
isations says outright that we are against certain definite 
proposals of Axelrod's, against certain definite trends ex- 
pressed in certain literary works by members of the Party. 
Whatever you may blame us for in our draft resolution, 
it will certainly not be for lack of clarity, or for avoiding 
the substance of the dispute, 



"...(1) The awakening of the political initiative of the proletar- 
ian masses by the organisation of their planned intervention in po- 
litical life in all its manifestations. 

"In pursuance of this, Social-Democracy, while calling on the 
proletariat to support all progressive classes in their joint struggle 
against reaction rejects all lasting alliances with any part of the non- 
proletarian classes, and, wherever sections of these classes differ 
among themselves, supports in each individual case those actions 
that are in conformity with social progress. Social-Democracy di- 
rects its revolutionary criticism both against the counter-revolution- 
ary strivings of the liberal bourgeoisie and against the Utopian and 
reactionary prejudices of agrarian petty-bourgeois socialism." 

We deliberately left this point until last, it alone, 
relatively speaking, having some content, since it touches 
on the fundamental principles of the differences between 
the Bolshevik and Menshevik tactics. But then, again, it 
only "touches upon" them, again far too much padding and 
not enough concrete material! The first two sentences are 
truisms that might well have been discussed in the press in 
1894-95, but it is really awkward to speak of such things 
in 1907. And even these truisms are worded very carelessly, 
for instance, Social-Democracy rejects all "alliances" in 
general with other classes, and not only "lasting" ones. 

The third sentence is the only one dealing with funda- 
mentals of tactics. Only here the veil is at least raised suf- 
ficiently to reveal the outlines of the concrete phenomena of 
our times. 

Here Social-Democracy is contrasted to: (1) the counter- 
revolutionary strivings of the liberal bourgeoisie; (2) the 
Utopian and reactionary prejudices of agrarian petty-bour- 
geois socialism. The instruction offered to the Party con- 
sists in criticism of them both in equal measure. 

Let us examine these two comparisons and the significance 
of this instruction. 

It is not quite clear what the comrades mean by the 
"counter-revolutionary strivings of the liberal bourgeoisie". 
It would have been proper to speak of the liberal bourgeoi- 
sie, without any further definition, in 1897 but not in 1907. 
The Menshevik comrades are astonishingly belated; we now 
have political parties in Russia that have revealed themselves 
in the First Duma, and partly in the Second! What sort of 
"tactical platform" is this that still does not even notice 
these definite parties in Russia? 



It is difficult to believe that the Octobrists are referred 
to as liberal bourgeois. The comrades obviously have a party 
of the Constitutional-Democrat type in mind (the Party 
of Democratic Reform, perhaps the Party of Peaceful Re- 
novation, as a phenomenon of the same type). We are con- 
vinced of this also by the use of the word "strivings", 
because we do not see any strivings in the spirit of 
counter-revolution on the part of the Octobrists — their 
entire policy has now become counter-revolutionary. 

And so the matter is one of Cadet counter-revolutionary 
"strivings", i.e., that the Cadets are already beginning 
to conduct practical politics in a counter-revolutionary 

This fact is undoubtedly true. A frank and definite ad- 
mission of it would undoubtedly bring closer together the 
two now hostile trends in Russian Social-Democracy. 
The need for a "revolutionary criticism of such strivings 
is also beyond dispute. 

To continue. The reactionary strivings of the liberals 
are contrasted with the reactionary "prejudices of agrarian 
petty-bourgeois socialism". 

We are completely at a loss. How can classes (liberal 
bourgeoisie) be compared and contrasted with theories (so- 
cialism), or practical politics (strivings) with views (prej- 
udices)?? This is illogical in the highest degree. In a tactical 
platform, if it is to hold together, the contrasting should 
be of (1) one class with another — for example, the liberal 
bourgeoisie with the democratic (or reactionary?) peasantry; 
(2) one policy with another — for example, counter-revo- 
lutionary with revolutionary; (3) one set of theories, views 
and prejudices with another. This is so absolutely obvious, 
so extremely elementary, that one cannot but wonder wheth- 
er this lack of logic in the Mensheviks is accidental, or 
whether lack of logical clarity reflects unclear political 

It is beyond doubt that the "socialism" of the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, the Trudoviks and the Popular Socialists 
is full of Utopian and reactionary prejudices. This, of 
course, has to be said when these parties are being assessed, 
as it was said by the Bolsheviks in their draft resolutions 
for the Fourth and Fifth congresses. By repeating this 



indubitable concept in such an illogical combination, the 
Mensheviks were apparently seizing on the first argument 
that came their way, in order to justify their policy of sup- 
port for the Cadets. Actually they could not avoid giving a 
motive for this policy and attempting to justify it in the 
text of the platform under examination. The liberal bour- 
geoisie's attitude to the peasantry in the Russian bourgeois 
revolution has now been touched upon by the Mensheviks. 
This is great progress, of course. After the experience of 
the First and (partly) the Second Duma, one can no longer 
limit oneself to merely referring to the notorious "Black- 
Hundred danger" fiction as an argument in defence of elec- 
tion agreements with the Constitutional-Democrats, vot- 
ing for a Cadet chairman, and supporting Cadet slogans. 
The general question, already presented by the Bolsheviks 
in the pamphlet Two Tactics (July 1905)* must be raised — 
the question of the attitude of the liberal bourgeoisie and 
the peasantry to the Russian revolution. What is it that the 
Mensheviks now say, in substance, on this question? 

"Urban bourgeois democrats in Russia have not subordinated the 
entire economy to themselves and are, therefore, not capable of 
independent revolutionary initiative, as was the case in bourgeois 
revolutions in previous centuries; at the same time the peasantry, 
who constitute the overwhelming majority of the small producers, 
are only just beginning to emerge from the economic and social 
conditions of pre-bourgeois production, and are, therefore, still less 
suited for the role of an independent leader of the revolution." 

This is the sole attempt to base the Menshevik policy 
towards the liberals and the peasantry on an economic analy- 
sis^. "The peasantry are still less suitable than the urban 
bourgeois democrats..." — and these words "still less" are 
supposed to justify the policy of supporting the Cadets. 

Why "still less"? Because the peasantry "are only just 
beginning to emerge from the economic and social condi- 
tions of pre-bourgeois production". A motive that is obvi- 
ously unsatisfactory. If the peasantry are "only just begin- 
ning to emerge" it is "the survivals of the feudal system that 
are a heavy burden borne directly by the peasantry" which 
prevent them from emerging. These words are from the first 

See present edition, Vol. 9, pp. 15-140— Ed. 



paragraph of our Party's agrarian programme. The circum- 
stance that the heavy burden of the survivals of serfdom is 
borne directly by the peasants makes a more profound, 
extensive and acute revolutionary movement against the 
existing system necessary and inevitable among the peas- 
antry than among the liberal bourgeoisie. There can be no 
question of either the liberal bourgeoisie or the peasantry 
being suitable leaders of the revolution*; the relative 
ability of the liberals and the peasants to display "inde- 
pendent revolutionary initiative", or, to be more exact, 
independently to participate in the further development 
of the revolution has been assessed quite incorrectly by the 

The Menshevik point of view on the political role of the 
peasantry contradicts those basic postulates of our agrar- 
ian programme that are agreed upon by the whole party, 
Bolsheviks and Mensheviks alike. 

First: as we have said "the survivals of the feudal sys- 
tem are a heavy burden borne directly by the peasantry". 
Consequently, in the present bourgeois-democratic revolution 
in Russia, the peasantry must be more revolutionary than 
the liberal bourgeoisie, because the strength, durability, 
viability and acuteness of the revolutionary movement 
depend on the force of the oppressive conditions of the 
old order, of that which has outlived itself. 

Secondly: in our agrarian programme we demand "the 
confiscation of private landed properties". We do not de- 
mand anything of the sort, anything that even remotely 

* Generally speaking, we heartily welcome the fact that in their 
platform the Mensheviks have raised the question of the proletariat's 
role as the leader of the revolution. It is extremely desirable that this 
question should be discussed at the congress and a resolution adopt- 
ed on it. The Mensheviks give a feeble explanation of the peasantry 
being unsuitable as leader of the revolution. It is not because the 
peasantry are only "just beginning to emerge" from serfdom, but 
because the main conditions of petty production (in agriculture and 
industry) compel the petty producer to vacillate between "order" and 
"property" on the one hand, and the struggle against the old order on the 
other. In the same way, the Mensheviks have missed the main reason 
for the liberal bourgeoisie being unreliable — fear of the proletariat the 
need to rely on the old order's instruments of power to defend them- 
selves against the "encroachments of the proletariat", as the Bol- 
shevik resolution says. 



approximates such a radical economic measure, for the lib- 
eral bourgeoisie. Why? Because no objective conditions 
exist that would call forth a struggle among the liberal 
bourgeoisie for the confiscation of a very considerable part 
of the property that is "legitimate" from the standpoint of 
the old order. We all recognise the existence of these objec- 
tive conditions among the peasantry, because the Marx- 
ists do not demand confiscation out of sheer love for ul- 
tra-revolutionary measures, but because they are conscious 
of the hopeless position of the peasant masses. The incom- 
parably greater depth of the peasantry's bourgeois-demo- 
cratic revolutionary spirit follows inevitably from this 
premise in our agrarian programme. 

Thirdly: our agrarian programme speaks of "support for 
the revolutionary acts by the peasantry up to and including 
the confiscation of the landlords' lands". This is a clear 
recognition of the need for a definite attitude to the direct 
revolutionary struggle of the peasants, to "acts" of a mass 
character that cover a huge area and involve a tremendous 
section of the country's population. Nothing similar to 
these revolutionary acts is to be found among the urban 
bourgeoisie, not only among the "liberal", i.e., the middle 
and some of the big bourgeoisie, but also among the demo- 
cratic petty bourgeoisie. The Social-Democratic Labour 
Party has never promised, and could never have promised, 
any "support" for any sort of "confiscation" plans made by 
the urban bourgeoisie. From this, it can be seen how erro- 
neous is the usual Menshevik argument about the "progres- 
sive urban" and "backward rural" bourgeoisie, an argument 
that is hinted at in the platform under review. The argument 
is based on a misunderstanding of our programme's funda- 
mental ideas on the question of the struggle against the 
survivals of serfdom, a struggle that constitutes the eco- 
nomic content of the bourgeois revolution in Russia. 

Fourthly: the political history of Russia for the past 
year, especially the First Duma and the elections to the 
Second Duma, has shown clearly that the peasantry, de- 
spite all their lack of development, their lack of unity, 
etc., were able to lay down immediately the beginnings of 
the formation of political parties (the "Trudovik" Group, 
etc.) that are undoubtedly more democratic than the liberal- 



bourgeois parties (the Constitutional-Democrats among 
them). This is borne out by a comparison of the Constitu- 
tional-Democrats' bill on the agrarian question with that 
of the "104", or a comparison of the attitude of the Cadets 
and the Trudoviks towards freedom of assembly and the 
composition of local land committees, or a comparison of 
the Cadet press, which is calming the people and quenching 
the revolutionary, movement with the water of constitu- 
tional phrases, and the Trudovik press (Izvestia Krestyans- 
kikh Deputatov, 89 etc.), which is revolutionising, in the 
democratic sense, fresh sections of the urban and rural 
petty bourgeoisie. 

In short, however we approach the question, it must be 
recognised that the Mensheviks' comparative assessment 
of the liberals and the Trudoviks is absolutely wrong. 

The source of this error is a failure to understand the 
bourgeois revolution that is taking place in Russia's ag- 
riculture. This revolution may have two forms — either 
the retention of landed proprietorship by ridding it of its 
feudal features and of the bondage of peasant labourers, or 
the abolition of landed proprietorship through confiscation 
of that property and transfer of the land to the peasants 
(in the form of nationalisation, division, "municipali- 
sation", etc., etc.).* 

A bourgeois revolution in Russian agriculture is inevi- 
table. And that revolution will remain bourgeois (contrary 
to the teachings of the Narodniks) even in the second case. 
However, the revolution may occur either in the first or 
the second form, depending on whether the democratic 
revolution is victorious or whether it remains unfinished — 
whether the peasant masses or the liberal landlords and 
factory owners will decide the course and outcome of the 

A bourgeois revolution for the purpose of preserving 
landed proprietorship is being carried out by Stolypin and 

* I draw readers' attention in particular to the fact that I have 
deliberately avoided touching on the disputed questions of the 
Social-Democratic agrarian programme (division, nationalisation, 
municipalisation), and have taken only that which has been formally 
adopted by the Party Congress, and which does not, in effect, give 
rise to disputes or group divisions among Social-Democrats. 



the liberals (the Constitutional-Democratic Party) — by 
Stolypin in the crudest Asiatic forms that are well able to 
fan the flames of struggle in the countryside and stimulate 
the revolution. The liberals are afraid of this and, as they 
do not wish to risk everything, are in favour of conces- 
sions, but of such concessions as would preserve landed pro- 
prietorship; it is sufficient to recall compensation for the 
land and, most important of all, the formation of local 
land committees from landlords and peasants in equal 
number, with agents of the government as chairmen! Local 
land committees of such composition mean preservation 
of landlord domination. Compensation payments for the 
land mean the strengthening of the peasant bourgeoisie 
and the enslavement of the peasant proletariat. It is this 
basic, economic solidarity between the Stolypin agrarian 
reform and that of the Cadets that the Mensheviks fail to 

Stolypin and the Cadets disagree on the extent of the 
concessions and on the method (crude or with finesse) of 
conducting the reform. Stolypin and the Cadets are both 
for the reform, that is, they are for the preservation of land- 
lord domination through concessions to the peasants. 

The proletariat and the peasantry are for the revolution, 
for the abolition not only of landlord domination but of 
all landed proprietorship. 

We can put an end to the revolution by means of insig- 
nificant concessions made by the landlords, says Stolypin. 

We can put an end to the revolution only by means of 
more substantial concessions made by the landlords, say 
the liberals (the Cadets included). 

We want to carry the revolution through to the end, and 
abolish landed proprietorship, say the peasants and workers. 

To deny that the agrarian programmes are thus related 
means to deny our own agrarian programme, which speaks 
of "the confiscation of privately-owned land" and "support 
for the revolutionary acts by the peasantry up to and in- 
cluding the confiscation of the landlords' lands". 

To recognise this relationship is to recognise the tacti- 
cal line of Social-Democracy — the proletariat must carry 
the democratic peasantry with it, against the autocracy 
and against the liberals. 



It is, therefore, no accident that the Mensheviks are 
wavering in all their tactics; they are inevitably doomed 
to vacillation as long as they recognise the present agrarian 
programme. Some of them would like to change the word 
"confiscation" for "alienation", thereby quite consistently 
expressing the next stage in opportunism, since they realise 
the necessity to make their Cadet policy conform to the 
Cadet formulation of the agrarian programme. 

This, however, has not yet taken place. It is something 
that influential Menshevik leaders do not even risk pro- 
posing in advance, openly and directly. For them, vacilla- 
tion in policy is the inevitable outcome. 

They have to conduct a policy of support for the Cadets, 
without daring to announce it openly! Support for the 
demand for a "Duma ministry", and blocs with the Cadets 
on account of a fictitious Black-Hundred danger, and vot- 
ing for a Cadet chairman in the Duma — all these are only 
individual manifestations of the policy of support for 
the Cadets, the policy of subordinating the proletariat to 
the hegemony of the liberals. 

But the Mensheviks do not risk defending this policy 
openly. And the false position they occupy compels them, 
against their will and consciousness, to "invent" fictitious 
arguments, such as the "Black-Hundred danger" at the 
elections, or the fiction that a "Duma ministry" is not a 
half-way pseudo-reform concealing an attempt at a deal 
between the Black-Hundred camarilla and the Cadets, or 
that by taking our 60 or 70 votes away from Golovin (who 
obtained 356 against 102) we "risked" sinking the Cadets, 
etc., etc. 

This false position compels them to paint the Cadets 
in bright colours. They avoid giving this party a direct 
characteristic in accordance with its class composition and 
its class backing. They avoid an assessment of Russian 
bourgeois parties by the congress. Instead of "liberal 
bourgeoisie" they speak of "urban bourgeois democracy". 

This absolutely incorrect description of the Cadets* 
is defended by one argument, very plausible at first sight — 

* The platform under discussion does not say outright that the 
Cadets are a party of urban bourgeois democrats, but this is the sense 



the election statistics show it is from the big towns that 
the majority of Cadet electors come. This argument is 
groundless: in the first place, the elections to the Second 
Duma in the twenty-two big towns where, according to 
Rech, there was a Left bloc gave the Cadets 74,000 votes 
and the Lefts 41,000. And so, despite the Lefts' amazing 
weakness in legal propaganda (the complete absence of a 
daily press, the complete absence of open offices, etc.), 
the Trudoviks and Social-Democrats won more than a 
third of the votes from the Cadets! Consequently the Con- 
stitutional-Democrats represent the upper stratum of the 
urban bourgeoisie, i.e., the liberal bourgeoisie in particu- 
lar, and not urban "democrats" in general. Secondly: for a 
long time the liberal bourgeoisie of all countries carried 
with them numerous elements from the lower strata of the 
urban and rural petty bourgeoisie, but that did not by any 
means make them a democratic party, a party of the masses. 
The struggle between the socialists and the liberals for 
democratic leadership of the mass of the impoverished urban 
petty bourgeoisie is a long and difficult one. To declare 
forthwith that the Cadets are "urban democrats" is to 
reject that struggle, to reject the cause of the proletariat, 
and to hand it over to the liberals. Thirdly, to deny that 
the liberal landowners constitute yet another of the class 
supports of the Cadet Party means distorting generally 
known political and economic facts — both the composi- 
tion of the Cadet group in the Duma and, especially, the 
close connection between the bourgeois intelligentsia, 
lawyers, etc., and the landowners, and the dependence of the 
former on the latter. The Cadet agrarian policy is the policy 
of the liberal landowner. The fewer the liberals among the 
landowners, the more rapidly does the Cadet agrarian policy 
turn into the pious wishes for "social peace" expressed by 
the impotent bourgeois intellectual. The Cadets do not 

of the whole text and of all the conclusions. The "explanations" of 
the Menshevik press are identical. What has remained unsaid in the 
platform only stresses again and again how very essential it is to 
place before the congress the question of the class content of the 
various bourgeois parties and our attitude to them. There can be no 
consistent tactics unless this is done. 



turn "democratic" by continuing to dream of conciliation 
and an amicable agreement between the Octobrist landowner 
and the Trudovik peasant.* 

* * 

The fundamental error in determining the relations be- 
tween the liberal bourgeoisie and the peasantry runs like a 
scarlet thread through the entire Menshevik "tactical plat- 
form". Here is another of their formulations of this erro- 
neous idea: 

"The proletariat, left entirely to itself and insufficiently support- 
ed [!!] by urban democrats, was inclined [after the October-De- 
cember period] to minimise the progressive role that, in general, 
falls to the lot of those democrats in the present revolution, and, 
in conformity with this, adopted a one-sided, hostile stand towards 
it.... In consequence of this incorrect understanding by the proletar- 
iat of the historic role of the urban bourgeoisie, the proletariat has 
begun one-sidedly to place all its revolutionary hopes on the move- 
ment of the peasantry which is appearing on the stage of history." 

This is a wonderful passage that deserves to go down 
in history as a description of the "self-forgetfulness" of 
part of Russian Social-Democrats in 1907. 

This is, in effect, an avowal of contrition made by Social- 
Democrats to the liberals — neither more nor less! Just 
think of it — at the time of the Second Duma, when there 
is a clearly expressed sharpening of political extremes 
between the Black Hundreds and the Left wing; of the 

* It will be remembered that the Right-wing Cadets, Mr. Struve 
among them, proposed electing the Octobrist Kapustin and the Tru- 
dovik Berezin vice-chairmen of the Second Duma. I am ready to call 
this plan a "masterly" manifestation of liberal "wit". And this is how 
matters actually stand objectively: it is the historic mission of the 
Cadet to reconcile the Octobrist landowner with the Trudovik peas- 
ant. The Left-wing Cadets did not want a demonstration of this 
because of their fear of the Lefts. This is, however, an indisputable 
fact. The objective state of affairs makes it the historic mission of 
the Cadets to put an end to the revolution through the reconcilia- 
tion of the Octobrist landowners and the Trudovik peasants. And 
vice versa — the Russian revolution can remain uncompleted, not 
brought to its final stage, only if it were found possible jointly "to 
satisfy" the basic economic interests of both the Octobrist landlords 
and the Trudovik peasants. 



Duma, when there is a revolutionary crisis, the maturing 
of which nobody will risk denying, when there is an obvious 
swing to the Right of the weakened liberal "Centre" (Ca- 
dats), when the liberals have been shouldered aside by 
the democratic peasants at the elections — Social-Democrats 
are to be found who publicly repent to the liberals of their 
"one-sided hostility" to them, repent of minimising their 
progressive role! What is this, eh? Is it a tactical platform, 
carefully thought out and weighed prior to the congress by 
eminent leaders of the Social-Democratic Labour Party, 
or the whining of petty-bourgeois intellectuals who are 
getting nostalgic in the proletarian surroundings so un- 
congenial to them? 

"The proletariat, adopted a one-sided, hostile stand to- 
wards urban democracy...." What was this expressed in? 
Let us go over the political events of the last year in our 
minds. In the boycott? But that was, firstly, prior to the 
Unity Congress, and the authors of the platform are re- 
viewing events that followed it. And, secondly, what have 
"urban democrats" to do with it? No, apparently the boy- 
cott is not meant. It must be the question of support for 
the demand for a Duma ministry and of blocs with the Ca- 
dets. Here, of course, the proletariat displayed a hostile 
attitude towards the Cadets but not by any means towards 
urban democracy. 

And who, within the Party, gave expression to this hostile 
attitude of the proletariat? The Bolsheviks.... 

The authors of the platform have accidentally told a 
great truth — in their war against support for the "Duma" 
ministry demand and against blocs with the Cadets, the 
Bolsheviks were expressing the policy of the proletariat. 
This is true. It is only the petty-bourgeois section of the 
workers' party that dreams of softening the hostile attitude 
to the liberals. 

...The proletariat is "insufficiently supported by urban 

First: here the error in confusing the liberals (Cadets) 
with urban democracy stands out with particular clarity. 
According to Rech figures, there was a "Left election bloc" 
in twenty-two cities — these also including Menshevik or- 
ganisations. In these cities the proletariat was undoubt- 



edly supported to a considerable extent by urban demo- 
crats, against the Cadets (41,000 votes for the Left bloc, 
74,000 for the Cadets). The conclusion to be drawn from 
this is certainly not in favour of the Mensheviks; the pro- 
letariat can and must attract to its side urban (and 
rural) petty-bourgeois democrats, against the liberal 

Secondly: when the Mensheviks speak of insufficient liberal 
support for the proletariat, do they understand the value 
of liberal support for the proletariat? Their platform is 
being written in 1907, and not altogether outside of time 
and space, no matter how much they try to give it the least 
concrete and most aerial character. Between 1902 and 1904 
and even 1905, until the month of October, both Mr. Struve 
and the liberals in general frequently announced their 
support for the proletariat, and actually did give their 
support in the onslaught on the autocracy. 

But after October 1905? The Mensheviks cannot but 
know that in December and after December the liberals 
turned their backs on the proletariat and ceased giving 
support to its revolutionary struggle. 

We may well ask: By whom and towards whom was a 
one-sided hostility displayed? 

By the proletariat towards the liberals? 

Or by the liberals towards the proletariat and towards 
the revolution? 

Or by the Mensheviks towards the tactics of the prole- 
tarian class struggle? 

* * 

When the Mensheviks go so far as to speak of "one-sided 
hostility", they are contraposing, as clearly as possible, 
two views on the Russian revolution after October 1905. 
The liberal view — the view of the Russian followers of those 
German Treitschkes 90 who announced that 1848 was "a 
year of madness" — is that the proletariat assumed a one- 
sided, hostile stand towards liberalism, towards consti- 
tutional legality, towards the monarchist constitution, 
towards compensation for the land, etc. 

The view of the proletariat — similar to the view of all 
European socialists on European bourgeois revolutions — 



is that the liberal bourgeoisie assumed a one-sided, hostile 
stand towards the revolution, towards freedom, towards 
democracy, etc. 

The Mensheviks are trying to divert the working-class 
party from the second view to the first. 

The working-class party will parry every such attempt 
on the part of the Mensheviks by trying to divert the Men- 
sheviks from the working-class party to the liberals. 

* * 

We do not by any means wish to say that the Mensheviks 
are, in general, trying to turn the working-class party 
into an appendage to the liberals. The difference between 
the opportunists inside the workers' party and the liberals 
outside its ranks is this: the former continue to serve their 
party sincerely but in so doing adopt an unstable and 
incorrect tactical stand that leads to the political subordi- 
nation of the proletariat to liberalism. 

The "unfortunate" quality possessed by this stand is 
that the Mensheviks, in their desire to attack the Bolshe- 
viks, actually attack the proletariat and the proletarian 
attitude to the revolution. This happens each time the 
attacks of the Mensheviks are really grounded in principle, 
i.e., when they deal with the reasons for the two different 
sets of tactics. Attacks that are not grounded in principle 
are another matter; they have only to be briefly mentioned 
for the reader to be confronted by the question: Is this a 
platform we have before us or a polemical article by a 

We read in the "platform", for example, that the "prole- 
tarian masses [sicl] are inclined to believe in the forthcom- 
ing political miracle of a sudden [!!] insurrection that 
will come about irrespective [!!] of the internal develop- 
ment of the proletariat itself and with one blow [!!] will 
replace the autocracy by the political rule of the working 

Up to now only the liberal newspapers have attributed 
such things in such a form to the "proletarian masses". 
What made the Mensheviks speak about an uprising at all, 



is something we cannot understand. But such talk of an 
uprising in a tactical platform that does not contain an- 
other word about an uprising except the sentence quoted 
cannot but evoke the question: instead of "Menshevik plat- 
form", should we not say hereafter "liberal platform"? 

Published in April 1907 in the collection Published according 

Questions of Tactics, First Issue. to the text in the collection 

Novaya Duma Publishers, 
St. Petersburg 
Signed: N. Lenin 

7 - -r^^r 

a ^-' -y^^j- 

Facsimile of the first page of Lenin's 
manuscript "Draft for a Speech on the Agrarian Question 
in the Second State Duma", 1907 



Gentlemen, a number of speakers have addressed the 
Duma and outlined the basic views of the different parties 
on the question of the land. It is time to start summing 
up. It is time to give ourselves clear-cut and precise answers 
to the quex land question such a difficult one? What are the 
basic views of all the main parties whose representatives 
have spoken in the Duma? In what do the various parties 
differ decisively and irrevocably on the land question? 

Four principal views on the agrarian question have been 
laid before the house by representatives of the four main 
parties or party trends. Deputy Svyatopolk-Mirsky outlined 
the views of the Rights, using that word to mean jointly 
the Octobrists, monarchists, etc. Deputy Kutler outlined 
the views of the Cadets, the so-called "people's freedom par- 
ty". Deputy Karavayev outlined the views of the Trudo- 
viks. Further details were added by Deputies Zimin, Ko- 
lokolnikov, Baskin and Tikhvinsky, who, in essence, are 
in agreement with Karavayev. Lastly my comrade Tse- 
reteli outlined the views of the Russian Social-Democratic 
Labour Party. Minister Vasilchikov, the government rep- 
resentative, gave us the government's view which, as I 
shall show later in my speech, boils down to a reconcilia- 
tion of the views of the Rights and those of the Cadets. 

Let us see what the views of these four political trends 
on the agrarian question consist in. I shall take them in 
the same order as that in which they spoke in the Duma, 
i.e., I will begin with the Rights. 



The basic view of Deputy Svyatopolk-Mirsky is that of 
all the so-called "monarchist" parties and of all Octob- 
rists, the view of the majority of Russian landowners. 
Deputy Svyatopolk-Mirsky expressed it superbly in the 
words: "And so, gentlemen, abandon the idea of increasing 
the area of peasant-owned land, other than in exceptional 
cases where the land is really overcrowded" (I quote from 
the report in the newspaper Tovarishch, which is the fullest, 
since the verbatim reports have not yet been published). 

This was well said; it was straightforward, clear and 
simple. Abandon the idea of increasing the peasants' land — 
this is the real view of all the Right parties, from the Union 
of the Russian People to the Octobrists. And we are 
well aware that this is the view of them mass of Russian 
landowners and those of other nations inhabiting Rus- 

Why do the landlords advise the peasants to abandon 
the idea of extending the peasant-owned land? Deputy 
Svyatopolk-Mirsky provides the explanation — it is because 
landlord farming is better organised, more "cultured" than 
peasant farming. The peasants, he says, are "dull, back- 
ward and ignorant". The peasants cannot, if you please, 
get along without the guidance of the landlords. "As the 
priest is, so is his parish," was the way Deputy Svyatopolk- 
Mirsky wittily put it. Apparently he firmly believes that 
the landlord will always be the priest and the peasants will 
always be the sheep of his flock and allow themselves to be 

But will it always be so, Mr. Svyatopolk-Mirsky? Will 
it always be so, Messrs. Landlords? May you not be mis- 
taken in this. Is it not because they were too "backward 
and ignorant" that the peasants have, until now, remained 
"the sheep in the flock"? Today, however, we see that the 
peasants are becoming politically conscious. The peasant 
deputies to the Duma are not attaching themselves to the 
"Rights" but to the Trudoviks and Social-Democrats. 
Speeches like that made by Svyatopolk-Mirsky will help 
the most backward peasants understand where the truth 
lies, and whether it is possible for them to support those 
parties that advise the peasants to abandon the idea of 
extending peasant-owned lands? 


For that reason I welcome from the bottom of my heart 
the speech made by Deputy Svyatopolk-Mirsky and also 
the future speeches on that question that will be made by 
all speakers from the Right benches. Continue in the same 
vein, gentlemen! You are helping us splendidly to open 
the eyes of the most backward peasants! 

They say that landlord farming is more cultured than 
peasant farming ... that the peasants cannot get along 
without the landlord's guidance. 

But I will tell you that the whole history of landed pro- 
prietorship and landlord farming in Russia, all the data 
on landlord farming prove that the "guidance" of the land- 
lords has always meant and today still means the unbridled 
coercion of the peasants, the endless denigration of peasant 
men and women, the most unconscionable and shameless 
exploitation (that word means "plunder" in Russian) 
of peasant labour, exploitation never seen anywhere else 
in the world. Such oppression and abuse, such poverty as 
that endured by the Russian peasant, is not to be found, 
not only in Western Europe, but even in Turkey. 

My comrade Tsereteli has already spoken of the way in 
which inhabited estates were handed out to the favourites 
and hangers-on of court "circles". I want to focus your 
attention on the question of farming touched upon by 
Deputy Svyatopolk-Mirsky, who spoke of the vaunted 
"culture" of the landlords. 

Does that deputy know what the peasants call "labour 
service" or "squirism"? Or what labour-service farming 
is called in the science of economics? 

The farming of a landed estate by labour service is the 
direct descendant, the direct survival, of the serf-owning, 
corvee farming of the landlords. What was the essence of 
the serf system of farming? The peasants obtained an allot- 
ment from the landlord to feed their own families, and 
in return had to work three days (and sometimes more) 
on the land of the proprietor. Instead of paying the worker 
in money as is now the case everywhere in the towns, the 
landlords paid in land. The peasant was barely able to sub- 
sist from the allotment he received from the landlord. 
And for this bare ration the peasant and all his family had 
to till the landlord's land, using the peasant's own horses 



and the peasant's own implements or "stock". Such is the 
essence of serf farming — a beggarly allotment of land in- 
stead of payment for labour; the tilling of the landlord's 
land, using the peasant's labour and the peasant's imple- 
ments; the compulsory labour of the peasant under threat 
of the landlord's cudgel. Under this system of farming the 
peasant himself had to become a serf, because without coer- 
cion nobody in possession of an allotment would have 
worked for the landlord. And what serfdom meant to the 
peasants — that they themselves know far too much 
about; it is too firmly fixed in their memories. 

Serfdom is considered to have been abolished. In actual 
fact, however, the landlords retain so much power (thanks 
to the lands they have acquired by plunder) that today 
they still keep the peasant in serf dependence — by means 
of labour service. Labour service is the serfdom of today. 
When, in his speech on the government declaration, my 
comrade Tsereteli spoke of the serf-owning nature of landed 
proprietorship and of the entire existing state power in 
Russia, one of the newspapers that fawns on the govern- 
ment — the paper is called Novoye Vremya — raised an outcry 
about Deputy Tsereteli having spoken a lie. But that is 
not so; the deputy of the Social-Democratic Labour Party 
was speaking the truth. Only an ignoramus or a mercenary 
ink-slinger could deny that labour service is a direct sur- 
vival of serfdom, and that landlord farming in our country 
is kept going by labour service. 

What, in essence, is labour service? It boils down to 
this: the landlord's land is not tilled with the landlord's 
implements and not by hired labourers, but with the im- 
plements of the peasant who is in bondage to his landlord 
neighbour. And the peasant has to go into bondage because 
the landlord cut off the best lands for himself, planted the 
peasant on sandy wasteland and pushed him on to a 
beggarly allotment. The landlords took so much land for 
themselves that it is not only impossible for the peasant to 
run a farm but there is not even room "for a chicken to run 
around in". 

The gubernia committees of landlords, in 1861, and the 
landlords who were civil mediators (apparently they were 
called "civil" because they were civil to the landlords) 92 


emancipated the peasants in such a way that one-fifth of 
the peasants' land was cut off by the landlords! They eman- 
cipated the peasants in such a way that the peasant was 
forced to pay treble the price for the allotment that remained 
in his possession after this plunder! It is no secret to any- 
body that according to the "land redemption" scheme of 
1861 the peasant was compelled to pay much more than 
the land was worth. It is no secret to anybody that the 
peasant was at that time forced to redeem not only the 
peasant land but also the peasant's emancipation. It is no 
secret to anybody that the "philanthropy" of the state redemp- 
tion scheme consisted in the Treasury filching more money 
from the peasant for the land (in the form of redemption 
payments) than it gave to the landlordl This was a fraternal 
alliance between the landlord and the "liberal" civil serv- 
ant to rob the peasant. If Mr. Svyatopolk-Mirsky has 
forgotten all this, the peasant, for sure, has not forgotten 
it. If Mr. Svyatopolk-Mirsky does not know this, then let 
him read what Professor Janson wrote thirty years ago in 
his Essay on the Statistical Investigation of Peasant Allot- 
ments and Payments and which has been repeated a thousand 
times since then in all our literature on economic statis- 

The peasant was "emancipated" in such a way in 1861 that 
he ran straight into the landlord's noose. The peasant is 
so downtrodden on account of the land seized by the land- 
lords that he must either die of starvation or give himself 
into bondage. 

And in the twentieth century the "free" Russian peasant 
is still forced to give himself into bondage to his landlord 
neighbour in exactly the same way as the "smerdi" (as the peas- 
ants were called in Russkaya Pravda 93 ) gave themselves 
into bondage in the eleventh century and "registered them- 
selves" as belonging to the landlords! 

Words have changed, laws have been promulgated and 
repealed, centuries have elapsed, but things remain essen- 
tially the same as they were. Labour service is the bonded 
dependence of a peasant who is forced to till his landlord 
neighbour's soil with his own implements. Labour-service 
farming is the same renovated, refurbished and reshaped 
serf farming. 



In order to make my meaning clear, I will cite an example 
from the countless number that fills our literature on peas- 
ant and landlord farming. There is a very extensive pub- 
lication, issued by the Department of Agriculture, that 
deals with the early nineties and is based on data obtained 
from farmers concerning the landlord farming system in 
Russia (Agricultural and Statistical Data Obtained from 
Farmers. Published by the Department of Agriculture, 
Issue V, St. Petersburg, 1892). These data were analysed 
by Mr. S. A. Korolenko (not to be confused with V. G. Ko- 
rolenko); that Mr. S. A. Korolenko was no progressive writ- 
er but a reactionary civil servant. In his book of analysis, 
you may read, on page 118: 

"In the south of Yelets Uyezd (Orel Gubernia), side by 
side with the work of labourers employed by the year, a 
substantial part of the land on big landlord estates is tilled 
by peasants in payment for land which they rent. Former 
serfs [note that, Mr. Svyatopolk-Mirsky] continue to rent 
land from their former landlords and, in payment for it, 
till the landlords' land. Such villages are still called [mark 
this!] the 'corvee' of such-and-such a landlord." 

This was written in the nineties of the last century, 
thirty years after what was called the "emancipation" of 
the peasants. Thirty years after 1861, the same "coryee" 
existed, the same cultivation of the land of the former 
landlords with the implements of the peasant! 

Perhaps the objection will be raised that this is an indi- 
vidual case. But anyone who is acquainted with landlord 
farming in the central black-earth belt of Russia, anyone 
who has the slightest acquaintance with Russian economic 
literature, will have to admit that this is no exception, but 
the general rule. In the Russian gubernias proper, where 
the true Russian landlords are in the majority (not for 
nothing are they so dear to the hearts of the true Russian 
people on the Right benches!) labour-service farming pre- 
dominates to this day. 

I can refer you, for instance, to a well-known scientific 
work, the book The Influence of Harvests and Grain Prices, 
compiled by a number of scholars. The book appeared in 
1897. It shows the preponderance of labour-service farming 
in the following gubernias: Ufa, Simbirsk, Samara, Tarn- 


bov, Penza, Orel, Kursk, Ryazan, Tula, Kazan, Nizhni- 
Novgorod, Pskov, Novgorod, Kostroma, Tver, Vladimir, 
and Chernigov, i.e., in 17 Russian gubernias. 

The preponderance of labour-service farming — what does 
that mean? 

It means that the landlord's land is cultivated with 
the same peasant implements, by the labour of the poverty- 
stricken, ruined and enslaved peasant. And here you have 
that "culture" of which Deputy Svyatopolk-Mirsky spoke, 
and of which all those who defend the landlords' interests 
speak. The landlords, of course, possess better cattle, which 
live better in the master's sheds than the peasant does in 
his own cottage. The landlord, of course, gets a better har- 
vest because the landlords' committees as long ago as 1861 
took good care to cut the best lands off from the peasant 
holdings and register them in the landlords' names. One 
can speak of the "culture" of the Russian landlords' farms 
only by way of ridicule. On a large number of estates there 
is no landlord farming whatsoever; the same peasant system 
of farming is carried on, the land is ploughed by the peas- 
ant's sorry nag and tilled with the peasant's old and un- 
suitable implements. In no European country does serf 
farming still survive on big landed estates and latifundia, 
carried on with the aid of bonded peasants — in no other 
country, except Russia. 

Landlord "culture" is the preservation of landlord serf- 
ownership. Landlord culture is usury perpetrated against 
the impoverished peasant, who is fleeced and enslaved for 
a dessiatine of land, for pasture, for water for his cattle, 
for firewood, for a pood of flour loaned to the hungry muzhik 
in winter at extortionate interest, for a ruble begged by 
the peasant's family.... 

And those gentlemen on the Right benches talk about 
the Jews exploiting the peasants, about Jewish usury! 
But thousands of Jewish merchants would not skin the Rus- 
sian muzhik in the way the true Russian, Christian land- 
lords do! The interest claimed by the worst usurer is not to 
be compared with that claimed by the true Russian land- 
lord, who hires a muzhik in winter for summer work or who 
forces him to pay for a dessiatine of land in labour, money, 
eggs, chickens, and God alone knows what else! 



That may seem like a joke, but it is a bitter joke that 
is too close to the truth. Here is an actual example of what 
a peasant pays for one dessiatine of land (the example is 
taken from Karyshev's well-known book on peasant rent- 
ings): for one dessiatine of land the peasant must culti- 
vate one and a half dessiatines, bring the landlord ten eggs 
and a hen and in addition provide one day's female labour 
(see p. 348 of Karyshev's book). 94 

What is that? "Culture", or the most shameless feudal 

Those who want to make Russia and Europe believe that 
our peasants are hostile to culture are telling a blatant 
lie, are slandering the peasants. They are not speaking the 
truth! The Russian peasants are struggling for freedom, 
against feudal exploitation. The peasant movement is 
spreading ever more widely, ever more boldly, and the 
struggle of the peasants against the landlords has been the 
sharpest precisely in the true Russian gubernias, where 
true Russian serfdom, true Russian labour service, bondage 
and abuse of the impoverished and debt-ridden peasantry 
is strongest and most deep-rooted! 

Labour service is not preserved by force of law — by law 
the peasant is "free" to die of starvation! — it is maintained 
by force of the peasant's economic dependence. No laws, 
no prohibitions, no "supervision" or "tutelage" can do any- 
thing whatsoever against labour service and bondage. There 
is only one way to get rid of this ulcer on the body of the 
Russian people — the abolition of landed proprietorship, 
because in the overwhelming majority of cases it is still 
serf proprietorship, the source and the mainstay of feudal 

All and any talk of "aid" for the peasants, of "improving" 
their condition, of "helping" them acquire land and other 
similar speechifying that the landlords and civil servants 
are so fond of, all this boils down to hollow pretexts and 
subterfuges, as long as it evades the principal question — 
whether or not to preserve landed proprietorship. 

That is the kernel of the whole issue. And I must give 
special warning to the peasants and the peasant deputies — 
evasion of the real substance of the issue must not be allowed. 
You must trust in no promises no fine words, until the 


most important thing has been made clear — will the landed 
estates remain the property of the landlords or will they 
pass into the peasants' hands? If they remain the property 
of the landlords, labour service and bondage will remain. 
Constant hunger and want for millions of peasants will 
also remain. The torment of gradual extinction from star- 
vation — that is what the retention of landed proprietor- 
ship means for the peasants. 

To show what the real nature of the agrarian question 
is, we must recall some of the chief figures on the distri- 
bution of landed property in Russia. The latest statistical 
data available on land ownership in Russia refer to the year 
1905. The Central Statistical Committee gathered them in 
the course of a special investigation, the full results of 
which have not yet been published. However, the chief 
results are known to us from the newspapers. European 
Russia is considered to have an area of about 400 million 
dessiatines. Of the 395.5 million on which preliminary 
data are available, 155 million belong to the state, the 
imperial family, 95 the church and church institutions, 102 
million belong to private persons, and 138.5 million are 
peasant allotments. 

At first glance it might seem that the state has the great- 
est share so that the question is not one of landlords' lands. 

This is a frequently occurring mistake that should be 
eliminated once and for all. It is true that the state owns 
138 million dessiatines, but almost all that land is in the 
northern gubernias — Archangel, Vologda and Olonets, in 
places where farming is impossible. The government itself, 
according to the precise figures of the statisticians (I re- 
fer you, for example, to Mr. Prokopovich and his book 
The Agrarian Question in Figures) could not find more 
than slightly over seven million dessiatines of state lands 
that could be given to the peasants. 

One cannot, therefore, speak seriously of state-owned 
lands. Nor need one speak about peasant migration to 
Siberia. This question has been made clear enough by the 
Trudovik speaker in the Duma. If the landlord gentlemen 
really believe in the advantages of migration to Siberia, 
let them go to Siberia themselves! The peasants would most 
likely agree to that.... But they would probably regard 



as sheer mockery the proposal that the neediness of the 
peasants should be remedied with Siberia. 

In respect of the Russian gubernias, and the central 
black-earth gubernias in particular, where the peasants 
are the most needy, the matter is precisely one of the land- 
lords' lands and no others. And Deputy Svyatopolk-Mirsky 
is wasting his time talking about "exceptional cases where 
the land is really overcrowded". 

Overcrowding on the land is the rule and not the excep- 
tion in central Russia. And the peasants are overcrowded 
because the landlord gentlemen have accommodated them- 
selves far too spaciously, because they give themselves 
too much room to move. "Peasant overcrowding" is the re- 
sult of the seizure of land masses by the landlords. 

"Land hunger" for the peasant means "land surfeit" for 
the landlord. 

Here, gentlemen, are the plain and simple figures. Peas- 
ant land allotments total 138.5 million dessiatines. Pri- 
vately-owned land amounts to 102 million dessiatines. 
How much of this last amount belongs to big estate 

Seventy-nine and a half million dessiatines belong to 
owners possessing more than 50 dessiatines each. 

And how many owners does this huge area of land belong 
to? Less than 135,000 (the exact figure is 133,898). 

Think well over these figures: 135,000 people out of a 
hundred odd million inhabitants of European Russia own 
almost eighty million dessiatines of land!! 

And side by side with this, twelve and a quarter million 
peasant family allotments total 138.5 million dessiatines. 

The average per big landowner, per (for simplicity's 
sake we'll say) landlord, is 594 dessiatines. 

The average per peasant household is eleven and 
one-third dessiatines. 

And this is what Mr. Svyatopolk-Mirsky and others of 
his ilk call "exceptional cases of overcrowding on the land". 
How can there be anything but universal "overcrowding" 
of the peasants when a handful of rich people numbering 
135,000 have 600 dessiatines each and millions of peasants 
have 11 dessiatines per farm? How can there be anything 
but peasant "land hunger" when there is such a tremen- 


dously excessive surfeit of land in the hands of the land- 

Mr. Svyatopolk-Mirsky advised us "to abandon the idea" 
of increasing the amount of land owned by the peasants. 
But no, the working class will not abandon that idea. The 
peasants will not abandon that idea. Millions and tens of 
millions of people cannot give up that idea, or abandon 
the struggle to achieve their goal. 

The figures I have quoted show clearly what that struggle 
is about. Landlords, with an average of 600 dessiatines per 
estate, are struggling for their wealth, for their incomes 
that probably total more than 500 million rubles a 
year. The biggest landlords are often the highest officers 
of the state as well. Our state, as my comrade Tsereteli has 
already in all justice said, protects the interests of a handful 
of landlords and not the interests of the people. No wonder 
the majority of the landlords and the whole government 
are struggling furiously against the demands of the peas- 
ants. History does not know any cases of the ruling and 
oppressing classes voluntarily relinquishing their right 
to rule and to oppress, their right to huge incomes from 
enslaved peasants and workers. 

The peasants are struggling to free themselves from 
bondage, from labour service, from feudal exploitation. 
The peasants are struggling for an opportunity to live just 
a little bit like human being. And the working class gives 
full support to the peasants against the landlords, given 
its support in the interests of the workers themselves, who 
also bear the burden of landlord oppression; it gives its 
support in the interests of our entire social development 
that is being held back because of landlord oppres- 

In order to show you, gentlemen, what the peasantry 
can and must achieve by their struggle, I will make a small 

"The time has come to have recourse to the eloquence 
of figures," Mr. Vasilchikov, the Minister of Agriculture, 
has said, "facts and reality, rather than to words, to make 
this question clear." I Am in the fullest agreement with 
the minister. Yes, yes, gentlemen, that is how it is — more 
figures, more figures on the extent of l-a-n-d-l-o-r-d owner- 



ship of land and on the sizes of the allotments owned by the 
peasants. I have already quoted figures showing how much 
"surplus" land the landlords own. Now I will give the fig- 
ures on the extent of the peasant need for land. On the aver- 
age, as I have said, each peasant household owns eleven 
and one-third dessiatines of allotment land. But this aver- 
age figure conceals the peasants' need for land, because 
most peasants possess an allotment of land that is below 
the average, and an insignificant minority have more than 
the average. 

Out of twelve and a quarter million peasant households, 
860,000 (in round figures) have allotments amounting to 
less than five dessiatines per household. Three million, three 
hundred and twenty thousand have from five to eight des- 
siatines. Four million, eight hundred and ten thousand 
have from eight to twenty dessiatines. Only one million, 
one hundred thousand households have from twenty to 
fifty dessiatines and only a quarter of a million have more 
than fifty dessiatines (these last-named probably do not 
have more than seventy-five dessiatines per household 
on the average). 

Let us assume that 79.5 million dessiatines of landlords' 
land is used to extend peasant holdings. Let us assume 
that the peasant — in the words of the Reverend Tikhvinsky, 
a supporter of the Peasant Union — does not want to denude 
the landlord of his land and will leave fifty dessiatines 
to each landlord. This is probably too high a figure for 
such "cultured" gentlemen as our landlords, but, for the 
time being, we can take this figure as an example. De- 
ducting fifty dessiatines for each of the 135,000 landlords 
would leave seventy-two million dessiatines that could be 
freed for the peasants. There is no reason to deduct the 
forests from this figure (as some writers do, for example Mr. 
Prokopovich, whose figures I have used several times) 
because forest land also produces an income which cannot 
possibly be left in the hands of a small group of land- 

To this seventy-two million add the cultivable state 
lands (about 7.3 million dessiatines), all the lands of the 
imperial family (7.9 million dessiatines), the church and mon- 
astery lands (2.7 million dessiatines), and you will get a 


total of about ninety million dessiatines.* This total amount 
is sufficient to expand the aggregate land owned by the poor- 
est peasant households to no less than sixteen dessiatines 
per household. 

Do you realise what that means, gentlemen? 

That would be a tremendous step forward, that would 
deliver millions of peasants from starvation; that would 
raise the living standard of tens of millions of peasants 
and workers, would give them greater opportunities to live 
more or less like human beings, in the way more or less 
cultured citizens of a "cultured" state live, and not in the 
way the dying race of modern Russian peasantry is living. 
That would not, of course, deliver all the working people 
from all forms of poverty and oppression (for that it would 
be necessary to transform capitalist into socialist society) 
but it would go a very long way towards making easier 
their struggle for such deliverance. Over six million peasant 
households, more than half of the total number of peasants, 
possess, as I have said, less than eight dessiatines per house- 
hold. The land they own would be more than doubled, 
almost trebled. 

This means that half the peasantry, always impover- 
ished, hungry, and undercutting the price of the labour of 
the workers in the towns, at the factories — half the peas- 
ants would be able to feel that they are human beingsl 

Can Mr. Svyatopolk-Mirsky, or others of his ilk, seri- 
ously advise millions of workers and peasants to abandon 
the idea of a way out of an unbearable, desperate situa- 
tion, a way out that is quite possible, practicable and near 
at hand? 

But it is not only a matter of the land owned by the great- 
er part of the poor peasant households possibly being 
almost trebled at the expense of the landlords' surfeit of 
land. In addition to these six million poor households, 
there are almost five (to be exact, 4.8) million peasant house- 
holds owning from eight to twenty dessiatines. There is 
no doubt that no less than three out of the five million live 
in poverty on their beggarly allotments. These three mil- 

* An exact calculation (in case of questions) is given at the end 
of Notebook 3. 96 



lion households, too, could raise their holdings to sixteen 
dessiatines per household, i.e., increase the holding by a 
half, and some could even double it. 

On the whole, it works out that nine million households 
out of a total of 12.25 million could greatly improve their 
condition (and improve the condition of the workers, whom 
they would stop undercutting]) at the expense of the land 
of the landlord gentlemen, who have too great an excess 
of land and who are too accustomed to the serf system of 

This is what we are told by the figures on the relative 
dimensions of large-scale landlord ownership and insuffi- 
cient peasant holdings. I am very much afraid these facts 
and figures will not be to the liking of that lover of facts 
and figures, Mr. Vasilchikov, the Minister of Agriculture. 
Did he not say to us in his speech, immediately after ex- 
pressing a desire to use figures: 

"...In connection with this, one cannot but express the 
apprehension that those hopes which many people place 
in the implementation of such reforms [i.e., extensive 
land reforms] will, when confronted with the figures, lose 
all chance of being realised...." 

Your apprehension is groundless, Mr. Minister of Agri- 
culture! It is precisely confrontation with the figures that 
should give the peasants' hopes of deliverance from labour 
service and feudal exploitation every chance of being real- 
ised in their entirety] And no matter how unpleasant 
these figures may be for Mr. Vasilchikov, the Minister of 
Agriculture, or for Mr. Svyatopolk-Mirsky and other land- 
lords, these figures cannot be refuted] 

* * 

I shall now proceed to the objections that may be raised 
against the peasants' demands. And, strange as it may 
seem at first glance, in analysing the objections to the 
peasants' demands I must in the main deal with the argu- 
ments of Mr. Kutler, representative of the so-called 
"people's freedom" party. 

The necessity for this does not arise out of any desire 
on my part to argue with Mr. Kutler. Nothing of the sort. 


I should be very glad if those who champion the peasants' 
struggle for land had to argue against the "Rights" only. 
Throughout his speech, however, Mr. Kutler objected, in 
substance, to the peasants' demands as put forward by the 
Social-Democrats and the Trudoviks: he objected both 
directly (for instance, he disputed the proposal made by 
my comrade Tsereteli on behalf of the entire Russian 
Social-Democratic Labour Party) and indirectly by pointing 
out to the Trudoviks the need to curtail, need to limit 
their demands. 

Deputy Svyatopolk-Mirsky did not actually expect to 
convince anybody. In particular, he was far from expecting 
that he could convince the peasants. He was not trying to 
convince, but was expressing his will, or, more correctly, 
the will of most landlords. In simple and direct terms, 
the "speech" made by Deputy Svyatopolk-Mirsky boils 
down to no increase whatsoever in the amount of land owned 
by the peasants. 

Deputy Kutler, on the contrary, was all the time using 
his powers of persuasion, trying to convince mainly the 
peasants to renounce that which he declared to be imprac- 
ticable and excessive in the Trudovik draft, and which, in 
the draft of our Social-Democratic Party was not only im- 
practicable but even "the greatest injustice", to use the 
words in which he expressed himself, concerning the pro- 
posal made by the representative of Social-Democracy. 

I shall now analyse Deputy Kutler's objections and the 
main basis for those views on the agrarian question, those 
drafts for agrarian reforms, that are defended by the so- 
called "people's freedom" party. 

Let us begin with what Deputy Kutler, in his argument 
against my Party comrade, called "the greatest injustice". 
"It seems to me," said the representative of the Cadet Party, 
"that the abolition of private property in land would be 
the greatest injustice, as long as the other forms of prop- 
erty, real and personal estate, still remain!..." And then 
farther: "Since nobody proposes to abolish property in gen- 
eral, it is essential that the existence of property in land 
be in every way recognised." 

That is the line of argument followed by Deputy Kut- 
ler, who "refuted" Social-Democrat Tsereteli by stating 



that "other property [other than landed property] was also 
acquired in a manner that was, perhaps, even less praise- 
worthy". The more I think over Deputy Kutler's argument, 
the more I find it — how shall I express it mildly? — strange. 
"It would be unjust to abolish property in land if other 
forms of property are not abolished...." 

But, gentlemen, kindly remember your own postulates, 
your own words and plans! You yourselves proceed from the 
fact that certain forms of landed property are "unjust", 
and so unjust that they require a special law on the ways 
and means of abolishing them. 

So what does this actually amount to? To saying that 
it is "the greatest injustice" to abolish one form of injustice 
without abolishing others?? That is what Mr. Kutler's 
words amount to. This is the first time I have been con- 
fronted by a liberal, and such a moderate, sober, bureau- 
cratically-schooled liberal at that, who proclaims the prin- 
ciple of "everything or nothing"\ For, indeed, Mr. Kutler's 
argument is based entirely on the principle of "every- 
thing or nothing". I, as a revolutionary Social-Democrat, 
must positively declare against such a method of argu- 

Imagine, gentlemen, that I have to remove two heaps 
of rubbish from my yard. I have only one cart. And no 
more than one heap can be removed on one cart. What should 
I do? Should I refuse altogether to clean out my yard on 
the grounds that it would be the greatest injustice to re- 
move one heap of rubbish because they cannot both be re- 
moved at the same time? 

I permit myself to believe that anyone who really wants 
to clean out his yard completely , who sincerely strives for 
cleanliness and not for dirt; for light and not for darkness, 
will have a different argument. If we really cannot remove 
both heaps at the same time, let us first remove the one 
that can be got at and loaded on to the cart immediately, 
and then empty the cart, return home and set to work on 
the other heap. That's all there is to it, Mr. Kutler! Just 
that and nothing more! 

To begin with, the Russian people have to carry away 
on their cart all that rubbish that is known as feudal, landed 
proprietorship, and then come back with the empty cart to 


a cleaner yard, and begin loading the second heap, begin 
clearing out the rubbish of capitalist exploitation! 

Do you agree to that, Mr. Kutler, if you are a real op- 
ponent of all sorts of rubbish? Let us write it into a resolu- 
tion for the State Duma, using your own words: "recognis- 
ing, jointly with Deputy Kutler, that capitalist property 
is no more praiseworthy than feudal landlord property, the 
State Duma resolves to deliver Russia first from the latter 
in order later to tackle the former". 

If Mr. Kutler does not support this proposal of mine 
I shall be left with the firm conviction that, in sending us 
from feudal property to capitalist property, the "people's 
freedom" party is merely sending us from Pontius to Pilate, 97 
as the saying goes, or, to put it more simply, is seeking eva- 
sion, saving itself by flight from a clear statement of the ques- 
tion. We have never heard that the "people's freedom" 
party wants to struggle for socialism (and is not the struggle 
against capitalist property a struggle for socialism?). But 
we have heard a lot, a very great deal, about that party 
wanting to struggle for freedom, for the people's rights. 
But now, when the question on the order of the day is not 
one of the immediate introduction of socialism but of the 
immediate introduction of freedom, and freedom from 
serfdom, Mr. Kutler suddenly refers us to questions of so- 
cialism! Mr. Kutler declares the abolition of landed propri- 
etorship based on labour service and bondage to be "the 
greatest injustice" — and this for the reason, exclusively 
for the reason, that he has remembered the injustice of 
capitalist property.... Have it as you will — it is rather 

I have believed until now that Mr. Kutler is not a social- 
ist. Now I have become convinced that he is not a democrat 
at all, that he is no champion of people's freedom — of real 
freedom, not people's freedom in inverted commas. Nobody 
in the world will agree to call or consider democrats those 
people who, in an epoch of struggle for freedom, qualify 
as "the greatest injustice" the abolition of that which is 
destroying freedom, which is oppressing and suppressing 

Mr. Kutler's other objection was not directed against 
the Social-Democrat but against the Trudovik. "It seems 



to me," said Mr. Kutler, "that it may be possible to imagine 
the political conditions under which the land nation- 
alisation bill [he is referring to the project of the Trudovik 
Group; Mr. Kutler described it inaccurately but that is not 
the important thing at the moment] might become law, 
but I cannot imagine there being, in the near future, political 
conditions under which such a law could actually be 

Again, an astonishingly strange argument, but not in 
any way strange from the standpoint of socialism (nothing 
of the sort!) or even from the standpoint of the "right to land" 
or any other "Trudovik" principle — no, it is strange from the 
point of view of that very same "people's freedom" we hear 
so much about from Mr. Kutler' s party. 

Mr. Kutler has all the time been trying to convince the 
Trudoviks that their bill is "impracticable", that they are 
wasting their time by pursuing the aim of "radically reform- 
ing existing land relations", and so on and so forth. We 
now see clearly that Mr. Kutler sees this impracticability 
as due to nothing else but the political conditions of the 
present day and the immediate future!! 

You will excuse me, gentlemen, but this is really some 
sort of fog, some unpardonable confusion of concepts. It 
is because we discuss and propose changes to better bad con- 
ditions that we here call ourselves representatives of the peo- 
ple and are considered members of a legislative assembly. 
And in the thick of a discussion on the question of changing 
one of the very worst conditions, the objection is raised: 
"impracticable ... either now ... or in the near future ... 
political conditions". 

One of the two, Mr. Kutler — either the Duma is itself 
a political condition, in which case it is unworthy of a dem- 
ocrat to adapt himself, to readjust himself to whatever 
curtailments may arise out of other "political conditions", 
or else the Duma is not a "political condition" but merely 
an ordinary office that has to take into consideration what 
may or may not please those more highly placed — and in the 
latter case we have no reason for posing as representatives 
of the people. 

If we are representatives of the people, we must say what 
the people are thinking and what they want, and not that 


which is agreeable to the higher-ups or some sort of "polit- 
ical conditions". If we are government officials, then I am 
perhaps prepared to understand that we shall declare 
in advance that anything is "impracticable" which the 
powers that be have given us to understand is not to their 

..."Political conditions..."! What does that mean? 
It means: military courts, an augmented secret police, 
lawlessness and lack of civil rights, the Council of State 
and other equally sweet in-sti-tu-tions of the Russian Em- 
pire. Does Mr. Kutler want to adapt his agrarian reform 
to what is practicable under military courts, augmented 
secret police and the Council of State? I should not be at 
all surprised if Mr. Kutler were to be rewarded for that, not 
with the sympathy of the people, of course, but with a medal 
for his servility! 

Mr. Kutler is able to imagine the political conditions under 
which the bill to nationalise the land could become law.... 
Of course he can! A man who calls himself a democrat 
has been unable to imagine democratic political conditions.... 
But the task of a democrat who is counted among the rep- 
resentatives of the people is not only to give himself a 
picture of all kinds of good and bad things, but to 
give the people truly popular projects, declarations and 

Mr. Kutler should not think of suggesting that I pro- 
pose departing from the law or infringing it in the Duma.... 
I am not proposing anything of the sort! There is no law 
that prohibits speaking in the Duma about democracy and 
tabling really democratic agrarian bills. My colleague 
Tsereteli did not infringe any law when he introduced the 
declaration of the Social-Democratic group, which speaks 
of "the alienation of land without compensation", and about 
a democratic state. 

Mr. Kutler's arguments in their entirety boil down to 
this — since ours is not a democratic state there is no need for 
us to present democratic land bills! No matter how you twist 
and turn Mr. Kutler's arguments, you will not find a grain 
of any other idea, of any other content, in them. Since our 
state serves the interests of the landowners we must not 
{representatives of the people must not\) include anything 



displeasing to the landowners in our agrarian bills.... 0 no, 
Mr. Kutler, that is not democracy, that is not people's 
freedom — it is something very, very far removed from free- 
dom and not very far removed from servility. 

* * 

Now let us look at what Mr. Kutler actually did say about 
his party's land bill. 

In speaking of land, Mr. Kutler first raised objections to 
the Trudoviks on the question of the "subsistence standard" 
and on the question of whether land suffices. Mr. Kutler 
took the "1861 standard" which, he said, is lower than the 
subsistence standard and informed the Chamber that "ac- 
cording to his approximate calculation' (the Duma had not 
heard a word about this calculation and knows absolutely 
nothing about it!) even for the 1861 standard another 30 
million dessiatines would be required. 

I would remind you, gentlemen, that Deputy Kutler 
spoke after Karavayev, representative of the Trudovik 
Group, and raised the objection specifically to him. But 
Deputy Karavayev stated in the Duma, directly and explicit- 
ly, and then made it known to the public in a special letter 
to the newspaper Tovarishch (March 21), that up to 70 million 
dessiatines would be required to raise peasant holdings to the 
subsistence standard. He also said that the total of the state, 
crown, church and privately-owned lands comes to that 

Deputy Karavayev did not indicate the source from 
which he made his calculation and did not acquaint the Duma 
with the method employed to arrive at this figure. My 
calculation, based on a source that I can name exactly and 
which is, furthermore, the very latest official publication 
of the Central Statistical Committee, gives a figure that 
is higher than 70 million dessiatines. Of the privately-owned 
lands alone, 72 million dessiatines are available to the pea- 
sants, while the crown, state, church and other lands provide 
more than 10 million and up to 20 million dessiatines. 

In any case, the fact remains — in raising objections to 
Deputy Karavayev, Deputy Kutler tried to prove that there 
is not sufficient land to help the peasants, but could not 


prove it since he gave unsubstantiated, and, as I have shown, 
untrue figures. 

In general I must warn you, gentlemen, against abuse of 
the concepts "labour standard" 98 and "subsistence standard". 
Our Social-Democratic Labour Party takes the much more 
correct line of avoiding all these "standards". "Standards" 
introduce something of officialdom, of red tape, into a vital 
and militant political question. These "standards" confuse 
people and hide the real nature of the issue. To transfer the 
dispute to these "standards" or even to discuss them at 
the present moment is truly a case of dividing up the skin 
before the bear is killed and, furthermore, dividing that skin 
up verbally in a gathering of people who will probably not 
divide up the skin at all when we kill the bear. 

Don't you worry, gentlemen! The peasants will divide 
up the land themselves once it falls into their hands. The 
peasants can easily divide it; the thing is to get hold of it. 
They will not ask anybody how to divide it, nor will they 
allow anybody to interfere with their division of the land. 

All these speeches about how to divide the land are sheer 
empty talk. We are a political body, not a surveyor's office 
or a boundary commission. We have to help the people solve 
an economic and political problem; we have to help the peas- 
antry in their struggle against the landlords, against a 
class that lives by feudal exploitation. And this vital, 
urgent problem is befogged by chatter about "standards". 

Why befogged? Because, instead of the real question of 
whether or not 7-2 million dessiatines should be taken from 
the landowners for the peasantry, the extraneous question 
of "farming standards" is being discussed, a question that 
in the final analysis is by no means important. This facil- 
itates evasion of the issue and makes it easy to avoid a real 
answer. Disputes on subsistence, on labour, or any other 
standards you like, only serve to confuse the basic issue: 
should we take 72 million dessiatines of the landlords' land 
for the peasants, or not? 

Attempts are being made to show whether there is suffi- 
cient or insufficient land for one standard or another. 

What is this demonstrating for, gentlemen? Why these 
empty speeches, why this muddy water in which it is easy 
for some people to fish? Is it not clear enough that there is 



no use arguing about that which does not exist, and that 
the peasants do not want any sort of imaginary land, but the 
land of the neighbouring landlord that they are already fa- 
miliar with? It is not about "standards" that we have to talk, 
but about landlords' land, not about any of your standards 
and whether any of them is sufficient, but about how much 
landlords' land there is. Everything else is nothing but 
evasion, excuses and even attempts to throw dust in the 
peasants' eyes. 

Deputy Kutler, for instance, avoided the real point at 
issue. Trudovik Karavayev at least went straight to the 
point: 70 million dessiatines. And how did Deputy Kutler 
answer that? He did not answer that point. He confused the 
issue with his "standards", i.e., he simply avoided giving 
an answer to the question of whether he and his party agree to 
hand over all the landlords' land to the peasants. 

Deputy Kutler took advantage of Deputy Karavayev's 
error in not having raised the question clearly and sharply 
enough, and avoided the point at issue. That, gentlemen, is 
the hub of our problem. Whoever does not agree to hand over 
literally all the landlords' land to the peasants (remember, 
I made the proviso that each landowner be left with 50 
dessiatines so that nobody would be ruined!) does not stand 
for the peasants and does not really want to help the peasants. 
For if you allow the question of all the landlords' land to be 
befogged or shelved, the whole issue is in doubt. The 
question then arises — who will determine the share of the 
landlords' land that is to be given to the peasants? 

Who will decide it ? Out of 79 million, 9 million is a "share" 
and so is 70 million. Who will decide it if we do not, if the 
State Duma does not decide it clearly and with determination? 

It was not without reason that Deputy Kutler kept quiet 
on this question. Deputy Kutler toyed with the words "com- 
pulsory alienation". 

Don't allow yourselves to be fascinated by words, gen- 
tlemen! Don't fall under the spell of a pretty turn of phrase! 
Yet to the bottom of things! 

When I hear the expression "compulsory alienation", I 
always ask myself: who is compelling whom? If millions of 
peasants compel a handful of landlords to submit to the 
interests of the nation, that is very good. If a handful of 


landlords compel millions of peasants to subordinate their 
lives to the selfish interests of that handful, that is very bad. 

That is the insignificant question that Deputy Kutler 
managed to evade! With his arguments about "impracticabil- 
ity" and "political conditions" he, in actual fact, was even 
calling on the people to reconcile themselves to their subor- 
dination to a handful of landlords. 

Deputy Kutler spoke immediately after my comrade Tse- 
reteli. Tsereteli, in the declaration of our Social-Demo- 
cratic group, made two definite statements that provide a 
clear solution to precisely this problem, the main, funda- 
mental problem. The first statement — the transfer of the 
land to a democratic state. "Democratic" means that which 
expresses the interests of the masses of the people, not of 
a handful of the privileged. We must tell the people, clearly 
and forthrightly, that without a democratic state, without 
political liberty, without a fully authoritative representa- 
tion of the people, there cannot possibly be any land reform 
to the advantage of the peasants. 

The second statement — the need for a preliminary dis- 
cussion of the land question in equally democratic local 
committees . 

How did Deputy Kutler answer that? He did not. 
Silence is a poor answer, Mr. Kutler. You kept silent pre- 
cisely on the question of whether the peasants will compel 
the landlords to make concessions to the people's interests, 
or whether the landlords will compel the peasants to put a 
fresh noose of more ruinous compensation round their necks. 

You cannot be allowed to ignore such a question. 

In addition to the Social-Democrat, the Popular Social- 
ists (Deputy Baskin) and the Socialist-Revolutionaries 
(Deputy Kolokolnikov) spoke in the Duma on the subject of 
local committees. The local committees have been spoken 
of in the press for a long time, they were also spoken of in 
the First Duma. That is something we must not forget, gen- 
tlemen. We must make quite clear to ourselves and to the 
people why so much has been said on this question and what 
its present significance is. 

The First State Duma discussed the question of local land 
committees at its fifteenth session, May 26, 1906. The ques- 
tion was raised by members of the Trudovik Group, who 



presented a written statement signed by thirty-five members 
of the Duma (including two Social-Democrats, I. Savelyev 
and I. Shuvalov). The statement was first read at the four- 
teenth session of the Duma on May 24, 1906 (see page 589 
of the Verbatim Report of Sessions of the First State Duma); 
the statement was then printed and discussed two days la- 
ter. I will read you the most important parts of the statement 
in full. 

"...It is necessary to set up local committees immediately; 
they should be elected on the basis of universal, equal and 
direct suffrage, by secret ballot, for the needful preparatory 
work, such as — the elaboration of subsistence and labour 
standards of land tenure as applicable to local conditions, 
the determination of the amount of cultivable land and the 
amount of it that is rented, tilled with the farmer's own or 
with other's implements, etc. In view of the need to adapt 
the land law as fully as possible to the multiplicity of local 
conditions, it is advisable for the committees to take an 
active part in the general discussion on the very fundamen- 
tals of the land reform, detailed in the various bills submitted 
to the Duma...." The Trudoviks therefore proposed the 
immediate election of a commission and the immediate 
elaboration of the necessary bill. 

How was this proposal greeted by the various parties? 
The Trudoviks and the Social-Democrats gave it unanimous 
support in their periodicals. The so-called "people's free- 
dom" party spoke categorically in its chief organ Rech, 
on May 25, 1906 (i.e., the day after the first reading of the 
Trudovik bill in the Duma), against the Trudovik bill. Rech 
said straight out that it feared that such land committees 
might "shift the solution of the agrarian problem to the Left".* 

"We shall try, insofar as it depends on us," wrote Rech, 
"to preserve the official and specifically business character of 
the local land committees. And for the same reason, we believe 
that to choose the committees by universal suffrage would 
mean to prepare them, not for the peaceful solution of the 
land question on the spot, but for something very different. 
The guidance of the general direction to be taken by the re- 

* See newspaper Vperyod," No. 1 for May 26, 1906, leading ar- 
ticle — "The Cadets Are Betraying the Peasants", signed: G. Al — sky. 


form must remain in the hands of the state; representatives 
of state power, therefore, must have their places in the local 
committees, if not for purposes of making decisions, at least 
for the purpose of exercising control over the decisions of 
local bodies. Then, again within the general fundamentals 
of the reform, there must be represented in the local commit- 
tees, as for as possible on an equal footing, those conflicting 
interests that can be reconciled without contravening the 
state significance of the reform in question, and without 
converting it into an act of unilateral violence that might 
end in the complete failure of the whole matter." 
This is quite clear and definite. 

The "people's freedom" party gives an estimate of the 
proposed measure in substance, and opposes it. The party 
does not want local committees elected by universal, di- 
rect, equal and secret ballot, but committees in which a 
handful of landlords and thousands and tens of thousands 
of peasants would have equal representation. Representatives 
of state power should participate for reasons of "control". 

Let the peasant deputies give good thought to this 
statement. Let them realise the essence of the matter, and 
explain it to the peasants. 

Try to get a picture, gentlemen, of what it really means. 
In the local committees landlords and peasants are represent- 
ed on an equal footing, and there is a representative of the 
government to exercise control, to "reconcile" them. That 
means one-third of the votes for the peasants, one-third 
for the landlords, and one-third for government representa- 
tives. And the highest state dignitaries, all those who have 
control over state affairs, are themselves among the wealth- 
iest landowners] In this way the landlords will "exercise 
control over" both the peasants and the landlords! Land- 
owners will "reconcile" peasants and landowners! 

Oh yes, there would no doubt be "compulsory alienation" — 
compulsory alienation of the peasants' money and labour 
by the landlords, in exactly the same way as the landlords' 
gubernia committees in 1861 cut off one-fifth of the peas- 
ants' land and imposed a price for the land that was double 
its real value. 

An agrarian reform of this type would mean nothing more 
than selling to the peasants, at exorbitant prices, the worst 



lands and those that the landlords do not need, in order to 
place the peasants in still greater bondage. "Compulsory 
alienation" of this sort is far worse than a voluntary agree- 
ment between landlord and peasant, because one half of 
the votes would go to the peasants and the other half to the 
landlords in the case of a voluntary agreement. According 
to the Cadet idea of compulsory alienation the peasants 
would have one-third of the votes and the landlords two- 
thirds — one-third because they are landlords and another 
third because they are government officials! 

Nikolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky, the great Russian 
writer and one of Russia's first socialists, who was brutally 
persecuted by the government till his dying day, wrote the 
following about the "emancipation" of the peasants and the 
land redemption payments of 1861 of accursed memory: it 
would have been better for the peasants and landlords to 
come to a voluntary agreement than to be "emancipated and 
pay redemption fees for the land" through the gubernia 
landlords' committees.* In the case of a voluntary agreement 
on the purchase of land it would not have been possible to 
extract as much from the peasants as has been extracted by 
means of the government 's "reconciliation" of peasants and 

The great Russian socialist proved to be right. Today, 
forty-six years after the famous "emancipation with redemp- 
tion payments", we know the results of that redemption 
operation. The market price of the land that went to the 
peasants was 648,000,000 rubles, and the peasants were forced 
to pay 867,000,000 rubles, 219,000,000 rubles more than the 
land was worth. For half a century the peasants have suf- 
fered, have languished in hunger, and have died on those land 
allotments, weighted down by such payments, oppressed by 
the government's "reconciliation" of peasants and landlords — 
until the peasantry has been reduced to its present in- 
tolerable condition. 

The Russian liberals want to repeat this sort of "reconci- 
liation" of peasants and landlords. Beware, peasants! The 
workers' Social-Democratic Party warns you — decades of 

* It would be a good thing to find the exact quotation; I think 
it is from "Letters Unaddressed", and elsewhere. 100 


new torment, hunger, bondage, degradation and abuse are 
what you will inflict on the people if you agree to this sort 
of "reconciliation". 

The question of local committees and redemption 
payments constitutes the keypoint of the agrarian prob- 
lem. Every care must be taken to ensure that here there 
should be no obscurity, that nothing should be left unsaid, 
and that there is no beating about the bush, and no pro- 

When this question was discussed in the First State Duma 
on May 26, 1906, Cadets Kokoshkin and Kotlyarevsky, who 
spoke against the Trudoviks, confined themselves to provisos 
and beating about the bush. They kept harping on the fact 
that the Duma could not immediately decree such commit- 
tees, although nobody had proposed any such decrees! 
They said that the question was bound up with a reform of 
the election law and local self-government, that is, they 
simply delayed the important and simple matter of setting 
up local committees to help the Duma solve the agrarian 
problem. They spoke of the "distortion of the course of leg- 
islation", of the danger of creating "eighty or ninety local 
Dumas" and said that "actually there was no need to set up 
such bodies as local committees", etc., etc. 

All there are nothing but excuses, gentlemen, one long 
evasion of a question that the Duma must decide clearly and 
definitely: will a democratic government have to solve 
the agrarian problem, or should the present government? 
Should the peasants, i.e., the majority of the population, 
predominate in the local land committees, or should the 
landlords? Should a handful of landlords submit to the mil- 
lions of the people, or should millions of working people 
submit to a handful of landlords? 

And don't try to tell me that the Duma is impotent, help- 
less and without the necessary powers. I know all that 
very well. I would willingly agree to repeat that and under- 
score it in any Duma resolution, statement or declaration. 
The rights of the Duma, however, do not enter into the pres- 
ent question, for none of us has even thought of making 
the slightest suggestion that would contravene the law on 
the rights of the Duma. The matter in hand is this — the 
Duma must clearly, definitely and, most important of all, 



correctly express the real interests of the people, must tell 
them the truth about the solution of the agrarian problem, 
and must open the eyes of the peasantry so that they recog- 
nise the snags lying in the way of a solution to the land 

The will of the Duma, of course, is still not law, that I am 
well aware of! But let anybody who likes do the job of 
limiting the Duma's will or gagging it — except the Duma 
itself. And the Duma's decision, of course, will meet with 
every known type of counteraction, but that will never be 
a justification for those who beforehand begin to twist and 
turn, bow and scrape, adapt themselves to the will of others, 
and make the decision of the people's representatives fit 
in with the wishes of just anybody. 

In the final analysis, it is not the Duma, of course, that will 
decide the agrarian question, and the decisive act in the peas- 
ants' struggle for land will not be fought out in the Duma. If 
we really wish to be representatives of the people, and not 
liberal civil servants; if we really want to serve the interests 
of the people and the interests of liberty, we can and must 
help the people by explaining the question, by formulating 
it clearly, by telling them the whole truth with no equivo- 
cation and no beating about the bush. 

To be of real help to the people, the Duma decision must 
give the clearest possible answer to the three basic aspects 
of the land problem that I set forth in my speech, and which 
Deputy Kutler evaded and confused. 

Question number one — that of the 79,000,000 dessiatines 
of landlords' land and of the need to transfer no less than 
70,000,000 of them to the peasants. 

Question number two — compensation. The land reform 
will be of some real advantage to the peasants only if they 
obtain it without paying compensation. Compensation would 
be a fresh noose around the neck of the peasant and would be 
an unbearably heavy burden on the whole of Russia's future 

Question number three — that of the democratic state 
system that is necessary to implement the agrarian reform, 
including, in particular, local land committees, elected by 
universal, direct, equal and secret ballot. Without it the land 
reform will mean compelling the peasant masses to enter 


into bondage to the landlords, and not compelling a handful 
of landlords to meet the urgent demands of the whole people. 

I said at the beginning of my speech that Mr. Vasilchikov, 
the Minister of Agriculture, was reconciling the "Rights" 
and the "Cadets". Now that I have made clear the signif- 
icance of the question of 70,000,000 dessiatines of landlords' 
land, of compensation and, most important of all, of the 
composition of the local land committees, it will be suffi- 
cient for me to quote one passage from the minister's speech: 

"Taking this stand," said the minister, referring to the 
"inviolability of the boundaries" of landed property and the 
"shifting" of them only "in the interests of the state" — 
"taking this stand, and admitting the possibility of the 
compulsory shifting of boundaries in certain cases, we believe 
that we are not shaking ... the basic principles of private 

Have you given proper consideration to these significant 
words of the minister's, gentlemen? They are worth pon- 
dering over.... You must ponder over them.... Mr. Kutler 
fully convinced the minister that there is nothing inconve- 
nient for the landlords in the word "compulsory" .... Why 
not? Because it is the landlords themselves who will do the 

* * 

I hope, gentlemen, that I have succeeded in making clear 
our Social-Democratic attitude to the "Right" parties and 
to the liberal Centre (the Cadets) in respect of the agrarian 
question. I must now deal with one important difference 
between the views of the Social-Democrats and those of 
the Trudoviks in the broad sense of that word, i.e., all the 
parties that base themselves on the "labour principle" 
which includes the Popular Socialists, the Trudoviks in 
the narrow sense of the word, and the Socialist-Revolu- 

From what I have already said, it can be seen that the 
Social-Democratic Labour Party gives its full support to 
the peasant masses in their struggle against the landlords 
for land, and for emancipation from feudal exploitation. 
There are not, there cannot be, more reliable allies for the 
peasantry in this struggle, than the proletariat, which has 



made the greatest number of sacrifices to the cause of win- 
ning light and liberty for Russia. The peasantry have not, and 
cannot have, any other means of ensuring the satisfaction 
of their just demands than that of joining the class-conscious 
proletariat, which is struggling under the red banner of inter- 
national Social-Democracy. Everywhere in Europe liberal 
parties have betrayed the peasantry and have sacrificed 
their interests to those of the landlords; and as I showed 
by my analysis of the liberal, Cadet programme, the same 
thing is happening here in Russia. 

In previous parts of my speech, I have frequently touched 
on the differences in the views of the Trudovik Group and 
those of the Social-Democrats on the agrarian question. Now 
I must examine one of the principal views of the Trudovik 

For this purpose, I shall permit myself to take the speech 
made by the Reverend Tikhvinsky. Gentlemen! The So- 
cial-Democrats do not share the views of the Christian re- 
ligion. We believe that the real social, cultural and political 
significance and content of Christianity is more truly ex- 
pressed by views and aspirations of such members of the clergy 
as Bishop Eulogius, than by those of such as the Reverend 
Tikhvinsky. That is why, on the basis of our scientific, 
materialist philosophy to which all prejudice is alien, on 
the basis of the general aims of our struggle for the freedom 
and happiness of all working people, we Social-Democrats 
have a negative attitude towards the doctrines of Christi- 
anity. But, having said that, I consider it my duty to add, 
frankly and openly, that the Social-Democrats are fighting 
for complete freedom of conscience, and have every respect 
for any sincere conviction in matters of faith, provided that 
conviction is not implemented by force or deception. I 
consider it all the more my duty to stress this point since 
I am going to speak of my differences with the Reverend 
Tikhvinsky — a peasant deputy who deserves all respect for 
his sincere loyalty to the interests of the peasants, the in- 
terests of the people, which he defends fearlessly and with 

Deputy Tikhvinsky supports the land bill of the Trudo- 
vik Group; it is based on equalitarian principles of land 
tenure. In support of this bill, Deputy Tikhvinsky said: 


"This is the way the peasants, the way the working people look 
at the land: the land is God's, and the labouring peasant has as much 
right to it as each one of us has the right to water and air. It would 
be strange if anyone were to start selling, buying or trading in water 
and air — and it seems just as strange to us that anyone should trade 
in, sell or buy land. The Peasant Union and the Trudovik Group wish 
to apply the principle — all the land to the working people. 
With regard to compensation for the land— how the above is to be 
effected, by means of compensation or by simple alienation without 
compensation, is a question that does not interest the labouring 

That is what Deputy Tikhvinsky said in the name of the 
Peasant Union and the Trudovik Group. 

The error, the profound error, of the Trudoviks is their 
not being interested in the question of compensation and 
that of ways of implementing the land reform, although 
whether or not the peasantry will achieve liberation from 
landlord oppression actually depends on this question. They 
are interested in the question of the sale and purchase of 
land and in that of the equal rights of all to land, although 
that question has no serious significance in the struggle for 
the real emancipation of the peasantry from the oppression 
of the landlords. 

Deputy Tikhvinsky defends the point of view that land 
must not be bought or sold, and that all working people have 
an equal right to the land. 

I am well aware that this viewpoint springs from the most 
noble motives, from an ardent protest against monopoly, 
against the privileges of rich idlers, against the exploitation 
of man by man, that it arises out of the aspiration to achieve 
the liberation of all working people from every kind of op- 
pression and exploitation. 

It is for this ideal, the ideal of socialism, that the Social- 
Democratic Labour Party is struggling. It is, however, an 
ideal that cannot be achieved by the equalitarian use of 
land by small proprietors, in the way Deputy Tikhvinsky 
and his fellow-thinkers dream of. 

Deputy Tikhvinsky is prepared to fight honestly, sin- 
cerely and with determination — and, I hope, to fight to the 
end — against the power of the landlords. But he has for- 
gotten another, still more burdensome, still more oppressive 



power over the working people of today, the power of capital, 
the power of money. 

Deputy Tikhvinsky has said that the sale of land, water 
and air seems strange to the peasant. I realise that people 
who have lived all their lives, or almost all their lives in the 
countryside, should acquire such views. But just take a look 
at modern capitalist society, at the big cities, at the rail- 
ways, coal and iron mines and factories. You will see how 
the wealthy have seized the air and the water and the land. 
You will see how tens and hundreds of thousands of workers 
are condemned to deprivation of fresh air, to work under- 
ground, to life in cellars and to the use of water polluted by 
the neighbouring factory. You will see how fantastically 
the price of land goes up in the cities, and how the worker 
is exploited, not only by the factory owners, but also by 
house owners who, as everybody knows, get much more out 
of apartments, rooms, corners of rooms and slums inhabited 
by workers than out of apartments for the wealthy. And, 
indeed, what is the sale and purchase of water, air and land 
when the whole of present-day society is based on the pur- 
chase and sale of labour-power, i.e., on the wage slavery of 
millions of people! 

Just consider it: can you imagine equalitarian land tenure 
or prohibiting the sale and purchase of land as long as the 
power of money, the power of capital, continues to exist? 
Can the Russian people be delivered from oppression and 
exploitation if the right of every citizen to an equal-sized 
piece of land is recognised, when, at the same time, a handful 
of people own tens of thousands and millions of rubles each, 
and the mass of the people remain poor? No, gentlemen. As 
long as the power of capital lasts, no equality between land- 
owners will be possible, and any sort of ban on the purchase 
and sale of land will be impossible, ridiculous and absurd. 
Everything, not merely the land, but human labour, the hu- 
man being himself, conscience, love, science — everything 
must inevitably be for sale as long as the power of capital lasts. 

In saying this, I have absolutely no desire to weaken the 
peasants' struggle for land, or belittle its significance, its 
importance or its urgency. I do not intend anything of the 
sort. I have said, and I repeat, that this struggle is a just and 
necessary one, that the peasant, in his own interests, and in 


the interests of the proletariat, and in the interests of social 
development as a whole, must throw off the feudal oppression 
of the landlords. 

Class-conscious workers wish to strengthen the peasants' 
struggle for land, not weaken it. Socialists do not strive to 
check this struggle, but to carry it further, and for this 
purpose shake off all naive faith in the possibility of putting 
petty proprietors on an equal footing, or of banning the 
sale and purchase of land, as long as exchange, money and 
the power of capital exist. 

Worker Social-Democrats give their full support to the 
peasants against the landlords. But it is not petty owner- 
ship, even if it is equalitarian, that can save mankind 
from the poverty of the masses, from exploitation and from 
the oppression of man by man. What is needed for that is 
a struggle for the destruction of capitalist society, and its 
replacement by large-scale socialist production. This strug- 
gle is now being conducted by millions of class-conscious 
Social-Democrat workers in all countries of the world. It is 
only by joining in this struggle that the peasantry can, 
having got rid of their first enemy, the feudal landlord, 
conduct a successful struggle against the second and more 
terrible enemy, the power of capital! 

Written between March 21-26 
(April 3-8), 1907 

First published in 1925 Published according 

in Lenin Miscellany IV to the manuscript 



The agrarian debates in the State Duma are highly in- 
structive. The speeches of the leaders of the various parties 
must be gone into in greater detail, and a thorough insight 
obtained into their content. 

Without doubt, the attitude to landed proprietorship is 
the gist of the agrarian question. The peasants are fighting 
against landed proprietorship, trying to obtain land for 
themselves. What is the attitude of the various parties to 
this struggle? 

The Social-Democrats have put forward the direct and 
open demand for alienation without compensation. In his 
speech, Tsereteli, a Social-Democratic representative, for- 
cibly revealed the falseness of the defence of landed prop- 
erty "rights", explained that it originated as plunder, 
showed up the boundless hypocrisy of the speeches on private 
property as an inalienable right, and refuted the Prime Min- 
ister, who by "state interests" understood, not the interests 
of the people, but the interests of that handful of landlords 
with whom the state authorities are closely linked. 

Add to this the proposal made by Comrade Tsereteli at 
the end of his speech to relegate the question to local land 
committees (elected, of course, by universal, direct, equal 
and secret ballot) for examination, and you will get a com- 
plete and definite picture of the proletarian position on the 
land question. The right of the landlords to land is denied. 
The method of the reform is clearly defined — local commit- 
tees, which means the domination of peasant interests 
over those of the landlords. Alienation without compensa- 
tion means the full defence of the interests of the peasants, 
and an implacable struggle against the class avarice of the 



Now let us turn to the Trudoviks. Karavayev did not put 
forward with full clarity and definiteness the principle of 
"alienation without compensation". The representative of 
the peasants was less determined in presenting the people's 
demands to the landlords than was the representative of the 
workers. The demand to hand the question over to local com- 
mittees was not put clearly; no protest was made against 
the scheme of the liberals (the Cadets) to relegate the dis- 
cussion on this acute question to a commission, so as to 
keep it farther away from the people, farther from the 
light of publicity, farther from free criticism. Despite all 
these shortcomings in the Trudovik's speech, as compared 
with that of the Social-Democrat, we have to admit that the 
Trudovik defended the cause of the peasants against the 
landlords. The Trudovik opened the eyes of the people to 
the miserable condition of the peasantry. He disputed the 
arguments put forward by Yermolov and other defenders of 
the landlord class, who tried to deny the need to extend 
peasant holdings. He defined the minimum needs of the peas- 
antry at 70,000,000 dessiatines of land, and explained that 
there are more than 70,000,000 dessiatines of landlord, crown 
and other lands available to meet the needs of the peasants. 
The tenor of the Trudovik speech was — we repeat, despite 
the shortcomings we have stressed — an appeal to the people, 
an effort to open the eyes of the people.... 

Let us take Cadet Kutler's speech. An entirely different 
picture immediately unfolds before us. We feel that we have 
moved from the camp of the fully consistent (Social-Demo- 
crat) or somewhat vacillating (Trudovik) defenders of 
the peasants against the landlords, into the camp of the 
landlords, who realise the inevitability of "concessions" 
but are bending every effort to make the concessions as 
small as possible. 

Kutler spoke of his "agreement" with the Trudoviks, of 
his "sympathy" for the Trudoviks, only to sugar the pill of 
immediate curtailments, cuts, abridgements, which; he says, 
must be made in the Trudoviks' draft Kutler's speech was, 
indeed, full of arguments against the Social-Democrats and 
against the Trudoviks. 

To give weight to our words, let us analyse Kutler's speech 
step by step. 



Introduction. A curtsey to the Trudoviks. The Cadet 
agrees with the basic idea, he warmly sympathises, but... 
but ... the draft of the Trudovik Group "is not confined to the 
simple and obvious aim of alleviating peasant land-hunger. 
It goes farther, it attempts to re-create radically all existing 
land-law relations" (all quotations from the report in 

And so we get "sympathy" for the muzhik in word, cur- 
tailment of the muzhik's demands in deed. The word is for 
the muzhik, the deed for the landlord. 

And on top of this, Kutler assures the Duma that the 
Trudovik does not confine himself to a simple and obvious 
aim! Think of it, reader: the Trudovik speaks forthrightly 
of 70,000,000 dessiatines of land. They have to be transferred 
from the landlords to the peasants. And that is not "simple", 
that is not "obvious"!! 

For "clarity" you have to speak about the labour standard, 
about the subsistence standard, about the allotment stand- 
ard of 1861. And Mr. Kutler talks and talks and talks. He 
fills his listeners' heads with a spate of words on all those 
worthless questions in order to draw the conclusion: "in 
my opinion ... there are 30,000,000 dessiatines lacking" 
to bring the peasant allotments up to the 1861 standard, 
and that standard is still below the subsistence standard. 
That is all. That is all he has to say on the extent of the need, 
and its satisfaction. 

But is this an answer to the 70,000,000 dessiatines? You 
are simply prevaricating, worthy knight of "the people's 
freedom", and telling us old wives' tales! Should 70,000,000 
dessiatines of land go to the peasants, or not? Yes or no? 

And, to disclose the nature of these evasions still more 
clearly, we shall add to the Trudovik's reference the sum- 
marised figures of the latest land statistics. Investigations 
undertaken in 1905 show a total of 101,700,000 dessiatines 
of land in private hands. Of these, 15,800,000 belong to 
various associations; 3,200,000 dessiatines belong to owners 
of plots not bigger than 20 dessiatines; 3,300,000 dessiatines 
belong to owners of plots between 20 and 50 dessiatines: 
79,400,000 dessiatines belong to owners of more than 50 
dessiatines each. These latter number altogether 133,898. 
The average area belonging to each of them, therefore, is 



594 dessiatines. Suppose, we were to leave each of these gen- 
tlemen 50 dessiatines. That would make 6,900,000 dessia- 
tines. Deduct 6,900,000 from 79,400,000 dessiatines and we 
get 72,500,000 dessiatines of available landlords' land, to 
say nothing of crown, state, church, monastery and other 

We see that the Trudovik still did not correctly define 
the amount of land that the peasantry could and should 
receive, although his figure of 70,000,000 dessiatines was 
close to the truth. 

So please take the trouble to give a simple and clear answer, 
my Cadet gentlemen: should 70,000,000 dessiatines of land 
be transferred from the landlords to the peasants? Yes 
or no? 

Instead of giving a direct answer, the former minister 
and present liberal hypocrite wriggles like the devil at mass, 
and exclaims pathetically: 

"Is not that right [the right to land according to the Tru- 
dovik draft] a right to enter premises in which all the places 
are occupied?" 

Very nice, isn't it? The question of the 70,000,000 dessia- 
tines is bypassed. The liberal gentleman answers the peas- 
ants — the premises are occupied. 

Having dealt summarily with the unpleasant question of 
the 70,000,000 dessiatines (ignorant fellows, those muzhiks! 
bothering us with their 70,000,000), Kutler began to raise 
objection to the Trudoviks in respect of the "practical 
feasibility" of land nationalisation. 

All that is merely malicious tittle-tattle, because if the 
70,000,000 dessiatines are left to the landlords there will be 
nothing to nationalise^. But Mr. Kutler speaks only to con- 
ceal his thoughts. 

What is the nature of his objection to the nationalisation 
of the land? 

"It seems to me that it may be possible to imagine the political 
conditions under which the land nationalisation bill might become 
law, but I cannot imagine there being, in the near future, political 
conditions under which such a law could actually be implemented." 

Weighty and convincing. The liberal civil servant, who 
has been kowtowing all his life, cannot imagine political 
conditions under which legislative power would belong 



to representatives of the people. It is usually the case — 
our dear liberal is hinting — for power over the people to 
belong to a handful of landlords. 

Yes, that's how it is. That's how matters stand in Russia. 
We are, however, talking about the struggle for people's 
freedom. The question under discussion is precisely that of 
how to change the economic and "political conditions" of 
landlord rule. And you object by making reference to power 
now being in the hands of the landlords, and by stating that 
backs have to be bent lower: 

"It is groundless and unjust to complicate the simple and indis- 
putably valuable task of helping the peasant population...." 

You've got to know your own limits! 

And Mr. Kutler talks on and on, saying that instead of 
the "unfeasible" nationalisation, all that is necessary is 
"to extend peasant land tenure". 

When it was a question of the extension of peasant land- 
ownership (and not land tenure, sir!) by 70,000,000 dessia- 
tines of landlords' land — then Kutler went over to the 
question of "nationalisation". And from the question of 
"nationalisation" he went back to that of "extension".... 
It may happen, he thinks, that they won't remember the 
70,000,000 dessiatinesl 

Mr. Kutler is an out-and-out defender of private prop- 
erty in land. He declares that its abolition would be "the 
greatest injustice". 

"Since nobody proposes to abolish property in general, it is essen- 
tial that the existence of property in land be in every way recog- 

Since we cannot take two steps forward this very day, 
then "it is essential" to refuse to take a simple step forward! 
Such is the logic of the liberal. Such is the logic of landlord 

It might at first sight seem that the one point in Mr. 
Kutler's speech that touched on the defence of peasant and 
not landlord interests was the recognition of compulsory 
alienation of privately-owned land. 

But anyone who trusted the sound of those words would 
be making a serious mistake. Compulsory alienation of the 



landlords' land would then and only then be of benefit to 
the peasants if the landlords were compelled to hand over a 
great deal of land to the peasants, and to hand it over 
cheaply. And what if the landlords compel the peasants to 
pay dearly for miserable patches of land? 

The words "compulsory alienation" mean precisely 
nothing if there is no actual guarantee that the landlords 
will not swindle the peasants. 

Not only does Mr. Kutler fail to propose a single one of 
those guarantees but, on the contrary, his whole speech, his 
whole Cadet position, precludes them. The Cadets do not want 
action outside the Duma. They frankly call for local com- 
mittees with an undemocratic composition — representa- 
tives from the peasants and landlords in equal numbers, 
with a government chairman! That means nothing but the 
landlords coercing the peasants. 

Add to this that the valuation of the land will be made 
by those same landlord committees, that the Cadets are al- 
ready today (see the end of Kutler's speech) foisting one 
half of the payment for the land on the peasants (the peas- 
ants will also pay the other half in the form of increased 
taxation!) and you will see that the Cadets' fine words conceal 
foul deeds. 

The Social-Democrats and the Trudoviks-spoke in the 
Duma for the peasants, the Rights and the Cadets for the 
landlords. That is a fact, and no evasions or fine phrases 
will cover it up. 

Nashe Ekho, No. 1, 
March 25, 1907 

Printed according 
to the text in Nashe Ekho 



Approval of the budget by the Duma is a question of ex- 
tremely serious political significance. According to the letter 
of the law, the Duma's rights are insignificant, and the gov- 
ernment is not bound by the Duma's consent to its actions. 
In fact, however, the government does in certain measure 
depend on the Duma's approval of the budget; everybody 
admits this, it is particularly stressed by the liberal bour- 
geoisie — the Cadets — who are inclined to substitute flam- 
boyant phrases about that dependence for a definition of 
the modest bounds of that modest dependence. The gov- 
ernment needs money, a loan is essential. And it will either 
be unable at all to float a loan without the Duma's direct 
or indirect consent, or, if it is able to do so, it will be with 
great difficulty and on such adverse terms that the situation 
will be considerably worsened. 

Under such conditions, it is quite obvious that the Duma's 
discussion of the budget and voting on it will have double 
political significance. In the first place, the Duma must 
open the eyes of the people to all the methods employed in 
that organised robbery, that systematic, unconscionable 
plunder of national property by a handful of landlords, 
civil servants and all kinds of parasites, plunder which is 
called "the state economy" of Russia. To explain this from 
the Duma rostrum is to help the people in their struggle for 
"people's freedom" that the Balalaikins 101 of Russian 
liberalism chatter so much about. Whatever fate has in store 
for the Duma and whatever the immediate steps and "in- 
tentions" of the government may be — in any case, only 

First page of the newspaper Nashe Ekho, No. 2, 1907 



the political consciousness and good organisation of the 
masses of the people will, in the final analysis, decide the 
outcome of the struggle for freedom. He who does not realise 
this has no right to call himself a democrat. 

Secondly, ruthless and open criticism of the budget and 
consistently democratic voting on it are of importance to 
Europe and European capital, even to the wide strata of 
European middle and petty bourgeoisie who lend money to 
the Russian Government of the Stolypins. Bankers and other 
magnates of international capital lend money to Messrs. 
Stolypin & Co. to get profit out of it, in the same way as 
any other usurer "risks" his money. If they are not certain 
that the money lent will be safe and the proper interest 
received, no love of "law and order" ("Russia" is a welcome 
example of graveyard law and order for a European bourgeoi- 
sie scared by the proletariat) would compel the Rothschilds, 
Mendelsohns and others to open their purses. Whether the 
European financial magnates' faith in the durability and 
solvency of the firm of Stolypin & Co. will be strengthened 
or weakened, depends to a great extent on the Duma. Even 
the bankers would not be in a position to loan thousands of 
millions if the majority of the European bourgeoisie had 
no faith in the Russian Government. And these bourgeois 
masses are being systematically deceived by venal bour- 
geois newspapers throughout the world, which have been 
bribed by the bankers and the Russian Government. The 
bribing of widely-circulating European newspapers in favour 
of the Russian loan is a "normal" phenomenon. Even Jaures 
was offered 200,000 francs to withdraw from a campaign 
against the Russian loan; such is the high value our govern- 
ment places on the "public opinion" of even those strata of 
the French petty bourgeoisie that are capable of sympa- 
thising with socialism. 

The petty-bourgeois masses of Europe have only the small- 
est possibility of ascertaining the true state of Russian 
finances, the real extent of the Russian Government's sol- 
vency — it would be more accurate to say they have scant 
means of arriving at the truth. The entire European public 
will immediately learn of the discussion and decisions of 
the Duma, so that in this respect the voice of the Duma is 
of tremendous significance. Nobody else could do so much to 



deprive Stolypin & Co. of European financial support as the 
Duma can. 

The duty of the "oppositional" Duma proceeds automati- 
cally from this. Only the Social-Democrats have done their 
duty. It is admitted by the semi-Cadet Tovarishch that the 
Social-Democrats, in Deputy Alexinsky's budget speech, 
posed the question in a more principled manner than any- 
body else. And, contrary to the opinion of the semi-Cadet 
Tovarishch, the Social-Democrats acted correctly by intro- 
ducing a clear, direct, and well-defined declaration on the 
impermissibility of Social-Democrats approving such a 
budget as that of Russia. There could be added to the dec- 
laration an exposition of the socialist view of the budget 
of a bourgeois class state. 

Only the extreme Left Narodniks, i.e., the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, supported the Social-Democrats. The peas- 
ant democratic mass, the Trudoviks and Popular Socialists, 
wavered as usual between the liberal party and the proletar- 
iat; the petty property-owner is drawn to the bourgeoisie 
although the unbearable burden of feudal and fiscal "pres- 
sure" forces him to the side of the fighting working class. 

As long as the Trudoviks support them, the liberals con- 
tinue to rule the Duma. When the socialists point out the 
treacherous role of the Cadets on the budget question, they 
answer with poor jokes or phrases in the Novoye Vremya, 
Menshikov 102 manner, such as Struve's exclamation about 
the spectacular gesture of the Social-Democrats, etc. 

But neither their jokes, their prevarication nor their 
pompous phrases will enable them to get away from the fact 
that, both tasks for the democrats, indicated by us above, have 
been trampled in the mud by bourgeois liberalism. 

As we have often had occasion to explain, the liberals' 
betrayal of the revolution is not merely a private arrange- 
ment, not treachery on the part of individuals, but the policy 
of a class, a policy of self-interested reconciliation with 
reaction, and of support, direct and indirect, for that reac- 
tion. And this is precisely the policy that the Cadets are 
pursuing on the budget question. Instead of explaining the 
truth to the people, they are distracting the attention of the 
people, and are putting into the foreground their civil 
service "men in mufflers", such as Kutler. Instead of explain- 



ing the truth to Europe, they are strengthening the posi- 
tion of the government; they are mouthing trivialities in- 
stead of criticism and thereby refusing to confirm for the 
benefit of Europe the fact of Stolypin & Co.'s bankruptcy. 

Formerly the Cadets conducted this cowardly, miserable 
philistine policy in secret. During the Second Duma elec- 
tion campaign in St. Petersburg, the Social-Democrats ex- 
plained to public meetings that in the spring of 1906 the 
Cadets had assisted the government in borrowing 2,000 mil- 
lion francs to finance shootings, military courts and punitive 
expeditions. Clemenceau told the Cadets that he would 
raise a campaign against the loan if the Cadet Party would 
formally announce that the loan was unacceptable to the 
Russian people. The Cadets refused to do so, thus helping 
in the acquisition of funds for the counter-revolution. They 
say nothing about that matter. But in the Duma today the 
secrets are out. They are openly carrying on the same inde- 
scribably despicable business in the Duma. 

It is high time to expose it, in all its details, from the 
Duma rostrum, and to tell the people the whole truth. 

Nashe Ekho, No. 2, 
March 27, 1907 

Printed according 
to the text in Nashe Ekho 



The Cadets praise Novoye Vremya. The Novoye Vremya 
crew praise the Cadets. The "people's freedom" party is 
pleased with the minister's concluding speech on the budget. 
This party, which is always pleased with all ministers, is 
now pleased with the consent of the Cadets, as leaders of the 
Duma "Centre", to approve the budget of the Duma-dis- 
solving ministry. 

"If it were necessary to prove that the general discussion 
on the budget in the State Duma had not been fruitless," 
Rech (March 28) pompously opens its editorial, "the finance 
minister's concluding speech would be a most brilliant 
proof of it." 

What is that brilliant proof? 

The proof is — "not a shadow had remained" of the minister's 
former "arrogantly didactic and irritably ironical tone".... 
The minister's reply was correct in form, and in content it 
revealed "a tribute of respect for the power of Duma criticism"; 
the minister mollified the Duma with the assurance that it 
had greater rights than it had seemed to have; he paid com- 
pliments to the "people's freedom" party, compliments 
which "the overwhelming majority of the Duma deserved 
for its subsequent voting" (for agreeing to send the budget 
to a commission). 

Yes, indeed, these are the Cadets' brilliant proofs of the 
"non-fruitlessness ,, of the Duma debates. The fruit does not 
consist in the faintest trace of serious improvement in the 
real state of affairs. Nor is it that the masses of the people 

*From the table by Ivan Krylov (1769-1844). The English 
equivalent is, roughly, a mutual admiration society. — Ed. 



have learned something and understood certain aims con- 
cealed behind the constitutional tinsel. Nothing of the sort. 
The fruit consists in the minister having become more de- 
cent, more obliging; he is more obliging to those who, in 
the name of "the people's representation", consent to all sort 
of compromises. 

The liberals consent to prostitute the people's represen- 
tation to underpin the foundations of Black-Hundred rule. 
On these terms, the government of Stolypin & Co. consents 
not to dissolve the Duma (for the time being...). Both sides 
are filled with joy and mutual admiration. 

Today's Novoye Vremya, while missing no opportunity 
to revile the Cadets for the "Jewish" composition of the 
commission on religious faiths, at the same time publishes 
a long dissertation by its Duma reporter on the reasons for 
its being inadvisable to dissolve the Duma. "Even from the 
standpoint of the extreme Right, it would be inexpedient 
and harmful to dissolve the Duma at the present moment." 
The election law cannot be changed without a coup d'etat, 
and if a new Duma is elected in accordance with the existing 
election law it is possible that "we may lose the present Cen- 
tre of the Second State Duma". According to the Novoye 
Vremya reporter, that Centre "begins at the Octobrists and 
stretches through the Party of Peaceful Renovation, the 
non-party deputies, the Poles and Cadets, as far as the 
Trudoviks". "Undoubtedly the present Centre holds a strict- 
ly constitutional-monarchist viewpoint and has, up to now, 
made every effort to engage in organic work. In any case 
we shall be deprived of that Centre [if the Second Duma is 
dissolved]. We shall be deprived, therefore, of a budget ap- 
proved by the Duma, for I assume it to be beyond all measure 
of doubt that the budget introduced by the ministry — with 
a few insignificant [mark this!] changes — will be adopted by 
the Second Duma." 

That is what Novoye Vremya says. The argument is ex- 
traordinarily clear. It is an excellent exposition of the point 
of view of the extreme Rights, who at the same time now 
wish to save the Duma. 

In the upper circles of the ruling oligarchy there is a 
struggle between two tendencies — one that wants the Duma 
dissolved and the other that would preserve it for the time 



being. The first of these policies is one that Novoye Vremya 
has long since evolved, explained, defended and, from time 
to time — or rather at all times — still continues to defend. The 
ruling oligarchy, however, has another policy. There will 
always be time to dissolve the Duma, and if it approves the 
budget it may be easier to obtain a loan, And so it is more 
advantageous to wait. The threat of dissolution remains, 
and "we" shall keep the pressure of this threat constantly on 
the Cadets, which will force them, in a way obvious to 
everybody, to shift to the Right. 

The latter policy is undoubtedly more subtle, and better 
from the standpoint of the reactionary landlords' interests. 
The former policy is crude, coarse and hasty. The latter is 
better planned because the dissolution is "held in reserve", 
while the liberals are being used by the government. For the 
Duma to approve the budget is almost equivalent to con- 
senting to endorse a bill of exchange for a bankrupt. It is 
more expedient to get both the bill extended for a further 
term and the Duma dissolved, than to dissolve the Duma 
at once without attempting to get the bill extended. 

Apart from the approval of the budget there may, of 
course, be other similar bills of exchange. Have not the 
Cadets, from the landlords' standpoint, already improved 
their agrarian bill? Let that bill pass through the Duma; 
then let it go to the Council of State for consideration and 
further improvement. If "we" dissolve the Duma at that 
moment, we shall have two, and not one, endorsed bills of 
exchange. "We" shall possibly be able to obtain from Europe, 
not one thousand, but two thousand million. One thousand 
million in the event of the State Duma approving the budget, 
i.e., on the basis of "a state economy that has passed through 
the fire of a strictly constitutional test". The other 
thousand million in the event of a "great agrarian reform 
passing through the fire of the strictly constitutional 
creative activities of popular representative body". 

The Council of State will make slight corrections to the 
Cadet agrarian bill, a bill that is already overflowing with 
the most diffuse phrases that define nothing. In actual fact 
everything depends on the composition of the local land 
committees. The Cadets are against the election of these 
committees by universal, direct, equal and secret ballot, 



The Cadets favour equal representation of landlords and 
peasants, with control by the government. The government 
and the landlords do not risk anything in adopting the 
basic idea of this superb liberal bill, for such committees, 
with the benevolent co-operation of the Council of State, 
Stolypin & Co., will no doubt, will most certainly, turn 
"compulsory alienation" of the landlords' land into 
compulsory enslavement of the muzhik by means of new and 
ruinous compensation payments for the sand, swamps and 
tree-stumps set aside for them. 

Such is the real significance of the government policy and 
the policy of the Cadets. By their treachery the liberals are 
helping the landlords put through a smart deal. If the peas- 
ants — the "Trudoviks" — continue to follow in the wake of 
the liberals, despite the warnings of the Social-Democrats, 
the muzhik will inevitably be fooled by the landlord with 
the help of the liberal lawyers. 

Written on March 28 (April 10), 

Published on March 29, 1907, 
in the newspaper Nashe Ekho, No. 4 

Published according 
to the newspaper text 



Issue No. 13 of Narodnaya Duma 103 published an endless- 
ly long resolution on mass workers' organisations and a 
labour congress; the resolution is a draft for the forth- 
coming congress, compiled by a group of publicists and 
Mensheviks engaged in practical activities. The names of 
the publicists are not mentioned, and in this it differs from 
other Menshevik resolutions (on the State Duma and the 
"tactical platform"). And so it is not known whether this 
lapse is accidental or whether it indicates a different group- 
ing of the Mensheviks on the given question. We recall 
that such a fervent Menshevik and champion of the labour 
congress as El stated that "only part of the Mensheviks have 
a more or less sympathetic attitude to the labour congress" 
(p. 82 of the collection The All-Russian Labour Congress. For 
the Current Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.). 

But let us go over to the contents of the resolution. It 
falls into two parts — A and B. In the preamble to the first 
part there are endless platitudes on the benefit of the organi- 
sation and uniting of the mass of the workers. "For the sake 
of importance", as Bazarov 104 said, organisation is convert- 
ed into self-organisation. It is true that this word does not 
actually express anything or contain any definite idea, but 
it is nevertheless a favourite with the champions of the la- 
bour congress! There is no need to explain that this "self- 
organisation" is only an intellectualist device to cover up 
the dearth of real organisational ideas — it would never have 
entered the head of a worker to invent "self-organisation".... 

The preamble criticises Social-Democracy for the "domi- 
nant and determining role played in it by the intelligentsia 



as compared to its proletarian elements". An interesting 
criticism. We shall not, for the time being, analyse its real 
socio-historical significance — that would lead to too great 
digression from the present subject. We merely ask — com- 
rades "publicists and Mensheviks engaged in practical activ- 
ities", why not begin with yourselves? Why does not the 
physician heal himself? That which you call "the dominant 
and determining role of the intelligentsia" is apparent in 
every sentence of your resolution! Why should not your 
"intelligentsia" begin by withdrawing and allowing the 
"proletarian elements" to draft the resolution? What 
guarantee is there that in the "self-organisations" projected 
by you, by the "publicists and Mensheviks engaged in practical 
activities", the phenomenon will not be repeated? 

Larin, El and many other champions of the labour cong- 
ress, give Social-Democracy a "dressing-down" for forcing 
resolutions through. And to drive such criticism home, 
the publicists "force through" long new, boring and cloying 
periods on "self-organisation".... What a picture! 

The resolution notes the "ideological and political influ- 
ence" of the Russian Social-Democratic Party (i.e., the 
R.S.D.L.P., or has a broader term been deliberately used 
to include Prokopovich, Kuskova, Posse and others?) on 
the advanced strata of the proletariat, and speaks of the de- 
sirability of "uniting the forces" of Russian Social-Democracy 
"with the politically conscious elements of the proletariat" 
(A, Point 6). 

Try for once to think over the words you use to compile 
your phrases, comrades! Can there be a "politically con- 
scious" proletarian who is not a Social-Democrat? If there 
cannot be, then your words boil down to empty tautology, to 
turgid and pretentious trivialities. Then you should speak 
of extending the R.S.D.L.P. to include real Social-Demo- 
crats who have not yet joined its ranks. 

If there can be, then you are calling the proletarian So- 
cialist-Revolutionary a politically conscious proletarian. 
It would be ridiculous to deny his "political consciousness"! 
And so what follows is that, under cover of grandiloquent 
words about the "self-organisation" and "independence" of 
a class party, you are actually preaching the disorganisation 
of the proletariat by inducting non-proletarian ideologists, by 



confusing real independence (Social-Democracy) with non- 
independence, with dependence on bourgeois ideology and 
bourgeois politics (Socialist-Revolutionaries). 

You were making for one destination, but reached an- 
other.... 105 

This is just like the old intellectual Economists of the 
1895-1901 period, who foisted on the workers their narrow- 
ness, their uncertainty, their cowardice, their scurrying 
about under the flag of "self-organisation", the "pure working- 
class" movement, etc.! 106 

The conclusion drawn by Part A: "The congress recognises 
the Russian Social-Democracy's most important current 
task to be work done hand in hand with the advanced ele- 
ments of the working-class masses [which means also hand 
in hand with worker Socialist-Revolutionaries and not against 
them?] for the consolidation of the latter in an independent 
organisation, no matter how politically modest the character 
it bears, or may be compelled to bear, by force of circum- 
stances of time and place." 

What is there in this that is definite, concrete, or goes 
beyond the bounds of intellectualist plaints. What is it all 
about? Nobody knows. 

Let us take consumers' societies. They undoubtedly express 
consolidation of the workers. Their character is politically 
modest enough. Are they "independent" organisations? That 
depends on the point of view. To the Social-Democrats, 
workers' associations art really independent when they are 
imbued with the Social-Democratic spirit, and not only im- 
bued with the "spirit", but are also tactically and politically 
connected with Social-Democracy — either by entering the 
Social-Democratic Party or by affiliation to it. 

On the contrary, the syndicalists, the Bez Zaglaviya 
group, 107 Posse's 108 supporters, the Socialist-Revolution- 
aries, the "non-party [bourgeois] Progressists", call only those 
workers' associations independent that do not enter the 
Social-Democratic Party and are not affiliated to it, are not 
linked up with Social-Democracy, and with Social-Democracy 
alone, in their actual politics, in their tactics. 

This difference in the two points of view has not been 
invented by us. It is generally recognised that these two 
points of view exist, that they are mutually exclusive, and 



that they are in conflict everywhere and on every occasion 
when workers are for any reason "associated". They are irre- 
concilable points of view, because, to the Social-Democrat, 
"non-partisanship" (in tactics and in politics in general) is 
only a screen and is, therefore, a particularly harmful way 
of subordinating the workers to bourgeois ideology and bour- 
geois politics. 

The outcome: In its conclusion the resolution said abso- 
lutely nothing on the essence of the matter. At best its con- 
clusion is hollow phrase-mongering. At worst, it is harmful 
phrase-mongering, misleading to the proletariat, over- 
shadowing the ABC of Social-Democratic truth, opening wide 
the door to any declassed bourgeois, such as those who 
have for a long time been doing considerable damage to the 
Social-Democratic working-class movement in all European 

How should the resolution be corrected? 

The empty phrases should be discarded. It should be 
said simply that Social-Democracy must support the 
organisation of various workers' associations, for example, 
consumers' societies, with due and constant regard for every 
workers' association serving as a centre precisely of 
Social-Democratic propaganda, agitation and organisation. 

That would, indeed, be a "politically modest" but busi- 
ness-like and Social-Democratic resolution. And you, gen- 
tlemen, you intellectualist warriors against the "dominant 
and determining role of the intelligentsia", you have put 
forward not the proletarian cause, but intellectualist phrase- 

We shall deal with the second part (B) of the resolution 
next time. 

Nashe Elcho, No. 5, 
March 30, 1907 

Printed according 
to the text in Nashe Ekho 




The second part (B) of the resolution under examination* 
deals with the question of the labour congress. 

The Mensheviks have written so much and said so much 
on this question that it would not be a bad thing to get a 
resolution that really summed up matters and removed all 
misunderstanding and differences in explaining the idea, a 
resolution that gave a clear and definite Party directive. 
Suffice it to say that the latest list of Russian literature on 
the labour congress (the above-mentioned pamphlet The 
All-Russian Labour Congress) names fifteen pamphlets and 
journals that treat the subject in a Menshevik light. 

Let us see what this "discussion" has yielded. 

Point One of the preamble: 

"Mass workers' organisations, coming into being and growing 
on the soil only of trade union, local [?] and group [?] needs and re- 
quirements in general [?], if not under the influence of proletarian 
Social-Democratic parties or organisations, have, when left to them- 
selves, a direct tendency to narrow the mental and political horizons 
of the working-class masses to the narrow sphere of trade and, in 
general, of the particular interests and day-to-day requirements of 
separate strata or groups of the proletariat." 

What mass organisations can grow on the soil of group 
needs, the Lord alone knows. By group, something small is 
always meant, something diametrically opposed to the mass. 
The authors of the resolution string words together without 
thinking of concrete, definite content. 

* See the analysis of the first part in Nashe Ekho, No. 5. 109 (See 
pp. 316-19 of this volume.— Ed.) 



What then does this mean — mass organisations on the 
soil of local needs? What sort of organisation the authors 
have in mind is again not clear. If they are talking about 
such organisations as consumers' societies, co-operatives, 
etc., their distinctive feature is certainly not their local 
character. The Mensheviks' love of platitudinous phrases, 
their evasion of the concrete exposition of a question, is a 
purely intellectualist trait. It is at root alien to the proleta- 
riat, and harmful from the standpoint of the proletariat. 

In their literal meaning the words "mass workers' organi- 
sations on the soil of local needs and requirements" include 
Soviets of Workers' Deputies. This is a type of mass workers' 
organisation well known in Russia in a revolutionary epoch. 
We may say in all truth that an article on the labour cong- 
ress, and on mass working-class organisations in general, 
rarely manages without mention of that type of organisation. 
As if ridiculing the demand for a precise and concrete ex- 
position of definite ideas and slogans, the resolution does 
not say a word about Soviets of Workers' Deputies, not a 
word about Soviets of Workers' Delegates, etc. 

But what we are being offered is some sort of incomplete 
criticism of some sort of local mass organisations, criticism 
that does not touch on the question of their positive signif- 
icance, the conditions under which they function, etc. 

Furthermore, no matter how you may correct, piece by 
piece, this monstrously clumsy first point of the preamble, 
there will still remain the general, fundamental error. 
Not only trade union, not only local, not only group, but 
also mass political organisations that are not local "have 
a tendency to narrow the political horizon of the workers", 
if they are not "under the influence of proletarian Social- 
Democratic parties". 

It was the authors' idea that the first point of the preamble 
should explain the transition to "the all-Russian labour 
congress"; local, trade union and other organisations, they 
wanted to say, narrow the horizon, but now we have the 
all-Russian labour congress, etc. The highly-respected 
"writers and Mensheviks engaged in practical work" have, 
however, lost all touch with logic, because the influence of 
Social-Democracy, or the absence of such influence, is possible 
in both cases! Instead of a comparison we get confusion.... 



Point Two of the preamble: 

"The idea of convening an all-Russian labour congress for the 
purpose of initiating the political association of Russian workers, 
an idea that has met with sympathy in working-class circles, will 
introduce an element of unity into the organisational activities of 
the working-class masses, and will bring into the foreground of their 
field of vision the common interests of the working class and its tasks 
in the present Russian revolution." 

In the first place, is it true that the notorious "idea" has 
met with sympathy in working-class circles? Point Five 
of the preamble to the same resolution says that "the urge 
of the workers themselves towards its [the labour congress] 
convocation has not yet been manifested by any serious 
practical steps on their part by way of preparation for 

* J." 

Here the truth has slipped out. We have a heap of intellec- 
tualist writings about the labour congress, and no serious 
practical steps on the part of the workers themselves. The 
attempt to blame this intellectualist invention on to the 
workers is a failure. 

Let us go on. What is the labour congress? Its aim is to 
"initiate the political association of Russian workers". 

And so the R.S.D.L.P. has not initiated such an associa- 
tion, nor did the Rostov demonstration of 1902, or the 
October strikes of 1903, or January 9, 1905, or the October 
strike in 1905 initiate it! Up to now we have had some 
history, now we have none! Association has only been 
"initiated" by Axelrod & Co. having thought up a labour 
congress. Can you beat that? 

What is meant by a "political" association of the workers? 
If the authors have not invented some new terminology 
specially for the present resolution, it means association 
around a definite political programme and tactics. Around 
which specifically? Surely our intellectuals must know that 
all over the world there have been political associations 
of the workers under the banner of bourgeois politics. Per- 
haps this does not apply to Holy Russia? Perhaps in Holy 
Russia any political association of workers is automatically 
a Social-Democratic association? 

The poor authors of the resolution are floundering so 
helplessly because they have not dared say straight out what 



idea really underlies the labour congress, an idea that has 
long been postulated by its more sincere or younger and more 
hot-headed champions. The idea is that the labour congress 
is to be a non-party labour congress. Would it, after 
all, have been worth while talking about a party labour con- 

Our Mensheviks, however, were afraid to tell the truth 
openly and forthrightly — "a non-party, political association 
of workers...". 

The end of this point reads: the idea of calling the congress 
"will introduce an element of unity into the organisational 
activities of the working-class masses, and will bring into 
the foreground of their field of vision the common interests 
of the working class and its tasks...". First organisational 
activities and then tasks, i.e., programme and tactics! 
Don't you think you should argue the other way round, 
comrades "publicists and Mensheviks engaged in practical 
work"? Think it over — can you unify organisational activities 
if there is no unified conception of the interests and tasks of 
the class? When you have thought it over, you will see that 
you cannot. 

Different parties have a different understanding of the com- 
mon interests of the working class and its tasks in the pres- 
ent revolution. Even in the single R.S.D.L.P. these tasks 
are differently understood by the Mensheviks, by Trotsky's 
supporters, and by the Bolsheviks. Think it over, comrades: 
how can these differences not affect the labour congress? 
how can they not come out there? how can they not be compli- 
cated by differences with the anarchists, Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries, Trudoviks, etc., etc.? Can the "idea of convening 
a labour congress" or its convocation eliminate those differ- 

And so the promise made by the authors of the resolution 
that "the idea of convening a labour congress will introduce 
an element of unity, etc." is either the innocent dreaming of 
a very young intellectual who is carried away by the latest 
book he has read, or else demagogy, i.e., the luring of the 
masses by promises that cannot be fulfilled. 

You are wrong, comrades. It is the real struggle that unites. 
It is the development of parties, their continued struggle 
inside parliament and outside of it that unites, it is the gen- 



eral strike, etc., that unites. But the experiment of convening 
a non-party congress will not introduce any real unity, or 
establish uniformity in the understanding of "interests and 

It can, of course, be said that the struggle of different 
parties at the labour congress would lead to a wider field 
of action for the Social-Democrats and to their victory. If 
that is the way you look at the labour congress, you should 
say so straight out, and not promise the milk and honey of 
"an element of unity". If you do not say this in straight- 
forward fashion, you run the risk of workers, misled and 
blinded by promises, coming to the congress for the unifica- 
tion of politics and actually finding gigantic, irreconcilable 
differences in politics, finding that the immediate unity of 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Social-Democrats, etc., is 
impossible , and then going away disappointed, going away 
cursing the intellectuals who have deceived them, cursing 
"politics" in general, cursing socialism in general. The 
inevitable outcome of such disappointment will be the cry, 
"Down with politics! Down with socialism! They disunite 
and do not unite the workers!" Some sort of primitive forms 
of pure trade-unionism or na'ive syndicalism will gain 
strength from this. 

Social-Democracy, of course, will in the end overcome 
everything; it will withstand all tests, and will unite all 
workers. Is that, however, an argument in favour of a policy 
of adventurous risk? 

Point Three of the preamble: 

"By introducing into the disunited organisational attempts 
of the socially active [what loud-sounding words they use!] 
masses of the proletariat such a unifying concrete aim as the 
convention of a general labour congress [no longer an all- 
Russian but a general congress! i.e., general party or non- 
party? Don't be afraid, comrades!], propaganda and agi- 
tation in favour of the convention will, in its turn, give a 
strong impetus to the urge of those strata towards self- 
organisation [i.e., that means without the influence of 
Social-Democracy , doesn't it? otherwise it would not be 
self-organisation], and will increase their activity in that 



That is known as running from Pontius to Pilate. Point 
Two: the labour congress will introduce an element of unity. 
Point Three: unity for the concrete aim of a labour congress 
will give an impetus to self-organisation. What is this self- 
organisation for? For the labour congress. What is the labour 
congress for? For self-organisation. What is this super- 
literary resolution against the rule of the intelligentsia for? 
For the self-satisfaction of the intelligentsia. 

Point Four: 

"In view of the growing popularity of the idea of the 
labour congress in working-class circles, a passive and, in 
particular, a hostile attitude on the part of parties [?? a 
misprint? the Social-Democratic Party?] towards attempts 
to put it into effect would open up the widest vistas for 
unprincipled adventurers to lead the workers onto a false 
path, and would force them into the embraces of dema- 

An exceptionally irate point. Its content speaks of angry 
embarrassment. They themselves are not certain whom they 
should attack, so they are directing their fire against their 
own ranks. 

I take the fifth, the latest issue of Otgoloski. m E. Charsky 
writes against Y. Larin: Y. Larin "has suddenly discovered 
an organisational panacea" ... "an unexpected recipe" ... 
"a muddle".... "Y. Larin does not notice that he is proposing, 
by a 'conscious' act, to perpetuate the sporadic nature of 
the revolution, which is directly hostile to the cause of the 
class unification of the working masses. And it is in the in- 
terests of the labour congress that all this is being done...". 
"In any case, we have before us very favourable soil for all 
sorts of 'land demagogy'.... The conclusion of Comrade La- 
rin's confused thinking." 

That would seem to be enough. Larin is accused by the 
Mensheviks of both demagogy and adventurism, since "re- 
cipe", "panacea" and similar compliments denote precisely 

So they were aiming at one, and hit another. Verily, his 
own received him not. And please note further, that if the 
authors of the resolution qualify Larin as adventurist and 
demagogue, El & Co. go further than Larin. El writes frankly 



(All-Russian Labour Congress, Moscow, 1907) that there are 
two tendencies on the labour congress question, and that 
they, the Moscow Mensheviks, agree neither with the St. 
Petersburg Mensheviks (p. 10) nor with Larin. The St. 
Petersburg Mensheviks want a congress only of the working- 
class vanguard, and that is simply "a variation of a party 
congress" (pp. 10-11). In St. Petersburg, Larin "is considered 
a heretic and conniver" (p. 10). Larin wants an "all-Russian 
labour party". The Moscow Mensheviks want an all-Russian 
workers^ union. 

We may well ask: if Larin has received such "handling" 
from Otgoloski, how are we to qualify El, Ahmet Ts., Arkhan- 
gelsky, Solomin & Co.? It turns out that both Larin and 
the Moscow Mensheviks come under the irate fourth point! 

But if you are angry, comrades, and your resolution con- 
demns the "false path", it is at least your duty to show where 
the true path lies. Otherwise your angry embarrassment will 
become quite ridiculous. However, after rejecting both the 
"all-Russian workers' union" and "the all-Russian labour 
party" you do not say a single word about the practical 
purposes for which you want a labour congress! 

Demagogues and adventurers are capable of convening 
a labour congress for false purposes. Therefore we Social- 
Democrats must show a sympathetic attitude towards the 
labour congress, setting that congress no aims at all.... 
In all truth, that Menshevik resolution is a real collection of 
all manner of incongruities. 

Point Five: 

"on the other hand, questions of the tasks of the labour 
congress, and of ways and means of preparing it, are still 
little explained in Social-Democratic circles [but they have 
been explained sufficiently for Larin and the Moscow Men- 
sheviks to have indicated clearly the tasks of the congress 
and the ways and means. It's no use hiding your head under 
your wing, comrades from St. Petersburg. That won't make 
the ducklings hatched by Axelrod come out of the puddle 
on to dry land!], that the urge of the workers themselves 
towards its convocation has not yet been manifested by any 
serious practical steps on their part by way of preparation 
for it, and that the congress will only be a real and not a 



sham expression of the collective will of the politically 
conscious strata of the proletariat and serve the cause of 
their class unity in the event of its convocation being pre- 
pared by their own independent organisational activity 
with the increased planned co-operation of the Party." 

That is called descending from the sublime to the ridicu- 
lous. Larin and the young Moscow Mensheviks were just 
beginning to display "independent activity" when the St. 
Petersburg Mensheviks shouted: Hold on! You are not yet 
the one who expresses the collective will! You have not yet 
done enough explaining! The convocation of the (non-party) 
congress has still not been prepared by greater co-operation 
from the Party ! 

Poor Comrades El, Ahmet Ts. & Co.! They were getting 
along so well, with such attractive youthful verve; they 
published two whole collections of articles on the labour 
congress, analysed the problem from all angles, explained 
its "general-political" and its organisational significance, 
the attitude to the Duma, the attitude to the Party, and 
the attitude to the "petty-bourgeois elemental force" — 
when suddenly Axelrod's help brought such a change 

We are afraid that if, until now, Larin alone revolted 
(remember: "heretic and conniver") against hidebound Men- 
shevism,* the revolt will now develop into an insurrection.... 
Axelrod promised independent action and a genuinely la- 
bour congress against the rule of the intelligentsia — and 
now the St. Petersburg publicists are taking decisions and 
explaining that this independent action must be understood 
as being permitted by that selfsame much maligned "intel- 
lectualist" party! 

* * 

It is not to be wondered at that the conclusions drawn 
from such a preamble should be of the strangest: 

"Proceeding from all these premises, the R.S.D.L.P. 
congress proposes to workers and intellectuals [really? 
how kind that is on the part of the fighters against "domi- 
nation" by the intelligentsia!] to engage [but not in the 

See present edition, Vol. 11, pp. 359-60.— Ed. 



way Larin and Ahmet did!] in an all-round discussion of 
questions relating to the programme and tasks of the labour 
congress, to propaganda, agitational and organisational 
work for its preparation, and to ways and means of con- 
vening it. 

"The Party congress at the same time considers it the 
duty of Party institutions to render every support to prop- 
aganda, agitational and organisational attempts at pre- 
paring the labour congress; it considers hostile agitation 
against such attempts to be impermissible in principle, since 
such hostility strives to preserve and strengthen the obsolete 
Party regime in Russian Social-Democracy that is no longer 
compatible with the present level of development, the de- 
mands of the proletarian elements grouped inside and around 
the Party, and the demands of the revolution." 

What can you call that if not angry embarrassment? 
What can you do but laugh at such a resolution? 

The Party congress forbids the defence of the obsolete 
Party regime, which regime the congress itself confirms! 

The Party congress does not propose any reform of the 
obsolete regime, it even postpones the notorious "labour 
congress" (for the purpose of an inconceivable "political 
association") and at the same time makes it a duty to support 

This is genuine, impotent, intellectualist grumbling; 
I am not satisfied with the present obsolete Party regime; 
I do not want to preserve and strengthen it! Excellent. 
You don't want to preserve it, so propose definite changes 
and we shall willingly discuss them. Please be kind enough 
to say what sort of labour congress you think desirable. 
This has not yet been made clear — the urge has not been 
manifested — the convocation has not been prepared. We 
must get down to a discussion. Excellent. It really is not 
worth while writing resolutions about "getting down to a dis- 
cussion", my dear comrades, since we have already been dis- 
cussing for too long a time. But a workers' party is not a 
club for the exercise of intellectualist "discussions" — it 
is a fighting proletarian organisation. Discussions are all 
right in their way, but we have to live and act. In which 
sort of party organisation is it permitted to live and act? 
in the old kind? Don't you dare defend the former obsolete 



organisation; don't you dare preserve and strengthen it! 
Excellent, etc. 

It is a tale without an end. The intellectual is peeved and 
angry at his own irresoluteness, his own embarrassment. 

Such is "hidebound Menshevism's" last word. 

* * 

While wandering all round it, the Menshevik publicists 
have safely avoided the issue that has become urgent enough 
to be raised in practice and in literature — an independent 
Social-Democratic workers' party, or its replacement by 
(variant: its subordination to) a non-party political organi- 
sation of the proletariat? 

Our Bolshevik resolution poses the question openly and 
gives a direct and definite answer to it. It is useless to evade 
the issue, no matter whether you do so because of em- 
barrassment or because of well-meaning "reconciliation". 
It is useless to evade the issue because the substitution 
has been proposed, and work to effect that substitution is 
going on. The intellectualist Menshevik hens have hatched 
out ducklings. The ducklings have swum away. The hens 
must choose — on water or on land? The answer they have 
given (that answer could be accurately translated as: neither 
on water nor on land but in the mud) is no answer; it is 
postponement, procrastination. 

Axelrod could not hold Larin back. Larin could not hold 
back El, Ahmet Ts. & Co. This latter company cannot hold 
back the anarcho-syndicalists. 

On water or on land, gentlemen? 

We want to keep on dry land. We can prophesy for you, 
that the greater the zeal, the greater your determination 
in crawling through the mud, the sooner will you return 
to dry land. 

"To extend and strengthen the influence of the Social- 
Democratic party among the broad masses of the proletariat" 
we do not propose replacing Social-Democracy by "a labour 
party" of the non-partisan type, or "an all-Russian workers' 
union" that is above all parties, or a labour congress for 
unknown aims, but something simple and modest, something 
to which all project-mongering is alien — "efforts must be 



increased, on the one hand, to organise trade unions and 
conduct Social-Democratic propaganda and agitation within 
them, and, on the other hand, to draw still larger sections 
of the working class into the activities of all types of Party 
organisations" (the final point of the Bolshevik resolution). 

This has become too "obsolete", too boring, for our blase 
intellectuals. Let them get on with their projects; we shall 
go with the workers, even at the "labour congress" (if it is 
held), and will show them in practice the correctness of our 
forecasts and — and then we shall return with the disappointed 
workers (or rather those who have become disappointed in 
certain intellectualist leaders) to "obsolete" work in trade 
unions and in Party organisations of all types. 

* * 

How is this "labour congress" tendency in our Party to 
be explained? Here we can only briefly mention three rea- 
sons that are, in our opinion, fundamental: (1) intellectual- 
ist-philistine weariness with the revolution; (2) a peculiarity 
of Russian Social-Democratic opportunism that is develop- 
ing historically towards subordinating the "purely working- 
class" movement to the influence of the bourgeoisie; (3) the 
undigested traditions of the October revolution in Russia. 

Re Point One. Some of the labour congress champions 
reveal weariness with the revolution, and a desire, at all 
costs, to legalise the Party and discard anything like a 
republic, the dictatorship of the proletariat and so on. 
A legal labour congress is a convenient means of attaining 
this. Hence (and also to some extent for the second reason) 
the sympathy of the Popular Socialists, the Bez Zaglaviya 
Bernsteinians (from Tovarishch, etc.) and the Cadets for 
such a congress. 

Re Point Two. Take the first historical form adopted by 
Russian Social-Democratic opportunism. The beginning 
of a mass working-class movement (the second half of the 
nineties of the last century) gave rise to this opportunism in 
the shape of Economism and Struvism. At that time, Ple- 
khanov and Axelrod and all the old Iskra supporters explained 
the connection between them time and again. The famous 
Credo by Prokopovich and Kuskova (1899-1900) expressed 



this connection very clearly — let the intelligentsia and the 
liberals conduct the political struggle, and the workers the 
economic struggle. The political working-class party is an 
invention of the revolutionary intellectual. 

In this classic Credo there is a clear expression of the 
historical, class meaning of the intellectualist infatuation 
with a "purely working-class" movement. Its meaning 
is the subordination of the working class (for the sake of 
(purely working-class" tasks) to bourgeois politics and 
bourgeois ideology. This "infatuation" of the intellectuals 
expressed the capitalist tendency to subordinate immature 
workers to the liberals. 

Today, at a higher stage of development, we see the same 
thing again. Blocs with the Cadets, in general, the policy 
of supporting the Cadets, and a non-party labour congress 
are two sides of the same medal, connected in the same way 
as liberalism and the purely working-class movement are 
connected in the Credo. In effect, the non-party labour cong- 
ress expresses the same capitalist tendency to weaken the 
class independence of the proletariat and subordinate that 
class to the bourgeoisie. This tendency is clearly displayed 
in the plans to replace Social-Democracy with a non-party 
workers' organisation, or its subordination to the latter. 

Hence the sympathy of the Popular Socialists, the Bez 
Zaglaviya group, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and others, 
for the idea of a "labour congress". 

Re Point Three. The Russian bourgeois revolution has 
created a specific type of mass organisation of the proletar- 
iat that does not resemble the usual European organisations 
(trade unions or Social-Democratic parties). These organ- 
isations are the Soviets of Workers' Deputies. 

By schematically developing similar institutions into 
a system (as Trotsky has done), or sympathising in general 
with the revolutionary enthusiasm of the proletariat and 
being infatuated with the "fashionable" phrase "revolution- 
ary syndicalism" (as some Moscow supporters of the labour 
congress are), it is easy to approach the idea of a labour 
congress in the revolutionary and not in the opportunist 

That, however, is an uncritical attitude to great and 
glorious revolutionary traditions. 



The Soviets of Workers' Deputies and similar institu- 
tions were actually organs of the insurrection. Their strength 
and their success depended entirely on the strength and 
success of the insurrection. Only when the insurrection 
developed, was their inception no mere bagatelle, but a 
great exploit of the proletariat. In the event of a new upsurge 
of the struggle, in the event of its transition to that phase, 
such institutions, of course, are inevitable and desirable. 
But their historical development must not consist in a 
schematic development of local Soviets of Workers' Deputies 
up to an all-Russian labour congress, but in the conversion 
of embryonic organs of revolutionary power (for the Soviets 
of Workers' Deputies were such) into central organs of vic- 
torious revolutionary power, into a revolutionary provi- 
sional government. Soviets of Workers' Deputies and their 
unification are essential for the victory of the insurrection. 
A victorious insurrection will inevitably create other kinds 
of organs. 

* * 

Russian Social-Democracy, of course, should not for- 
swear participation in a labour congress because the 
revolution is developing in a highly zigzag fashion and may 
produce the most varied and unusual situations. It is, 
however, one thing to study attentively the conditions of 
the revolution as it ebbs and flows and to attempt to use 
those conditions, and quite another to engage in confused 
or anti-Social-Democratic project-mongering. 

Written in April 1907 

Published in 1907 in the collection Published according 

Questions of Tactics, Second Issue. to the text in the collection 

Novaya Duma Publishers, 
St. Petersburg 
Signed: N. Lenin 



The newspaper Trudovoi Narod, organ of the Trudoviks 
and members of the Peasant Union, has defined the alignment 
of forces in the Duma on the land question, that "life or 
death question" for the peasantry. 

"The Trudoviks (100), Popular Socialists (14), and Socialist- 
Revolutionaries (34), 148 in all, may act together on the land ques- 
tion, to uphold the interests of the working people. Assuming that 
the Social-Democrats (64) will join them on many points of that 
question, the total will be 212. 

"All these will be opposed by the Constitutional-Democrats (91), 
the Polish Kolo (46), Independents (52), Octobrists and Moderates 
(32), 221 in all. 

"Thus there is a preponderance of votes against. And we have 
counted neither the Moslems (30) nor the Cossacks (17); it is likely 
that, at the very best, one half will side with the Left, and the other 
half with the Right. In any case there are more votes against the Tru- 
doviks' land law than for it." 

The enumeration omits the monarchists (22), but their 
inclusion only bears out the inference drawn by the Trudo- 

This conclusion is of interest in two respects: firstly, it 
throws light on the fundamental question of the alignment 
of social forces in the present Russian revolution, and sec- 
ondly, it helps to clarify the significance, for the liberation 
movement, of the Duma and the struggle in the Duma. 

All Social-Democrats are convinced that, in its social 
and economic content, the present revolution is a bourgeois 
revolution. This means that it is proceeding on the basis 
of capitalist production relations, and will inevitably 



result in a further development of those same production rela- 
tions. To put it more simply, the entire economy of society 
will still remain under the domination of the market, of 
money, even when there is the broadest freedom and 
the peasants have won a complete victory in their struggle 
for the land. The struggle for land and freedom is a struggle 
for the conditions of existence of bourgeois society, for 
the rule of capital will remain in the most democratic 
republic, irrespective of how the transfer of "all the land 
to the people" is effected. 

Such a view may seem strange to anyone unfamiliar with 
Marx's theory. Yet it is not hard to see that it is the correct 
view — one need but recall the great French Revolution and 
its outcome, the history of the "free lands" in America, and 
so on. 

The Social-Democrats by no means wish to minimise the 
tasks of the present revolution, or to belittle its signifi- 
cance, by calling it a bourgeois revolution. On the contrary. 
The struggle of the working class against the capitalist 
class cannot develop on a wide enough scale and end in 
victory until the older historical enemies of the proleta- 
riat are overthrown. 

Hence, the principal task of the proletariat at present 
is to win the broadest freedom and bring about the most 
complete destruction of landlord (feudal) landed proprietor- 
ship. Only by doing this, only by completely smashing the 
old, semi-feudal society through democratic action, can the 
proletariat rise to full stature as an independent class, lay 
full emphasis on its specific (i.e., socialist) tasks, as distinct 
from the democratic tasks common to "all the oppressed", 
and secure for itself the most favourable conditions for an 
unrestricted, sweeping, and intensified struggle for socialism. 
If the bourgeois-democratic liberation movement stops 
half-way, if it is not carried through, the proletariat will 
have to spend a great deal more of its forces on general 
democratic (i.e., bourgeois-democratic) tasks than on its own 
class, proletarian, i.e., socialist, tasks. 

But can the socialist proletariat accomplish the bour- 
geois revolution independently and as the guiding force? 
Does not the very concept "bourgeois revolution" imply that 
it can be accomplished only by the bourgeoisie? 


The Mensheviks often fall into this error, although, as a 
viewpoint, it is a caricature of Marxism. A liberation 
movement that is bourgeois in social and economic con- 
tent is not such because of its motive forces. The motive 
force may be, not the bourgeoisie, but the proletariat and 
the peasantry. Why is this possible? Because the proletar- 
iat and the peasantry suffer even more than the bourgeoisie 
from the survivals of serfdom, because they are in greater 
need of freedom and the abolition of landlord oppression. 
For the bourgeoisie, on the contrary, complete victory 
constitutes a danger, since the proletariat will make use of 
full freedom against the bourgeoisie, and the fuller that free- 
dom and the more completely the power of the landlords has 
been destroyed, the easier will it be for the proletariat to do so. 

Hence the bourgeoisie strives to put an end to the bourgeois 
revolution half-way from its destination, when freedom has 
been only half-won, by a deal with the old authorities and 
the landlords. This striving is grounded in the class inter- 
ests of the bourgeoisie. It was manifested so clearly in the 
German bourgeois revolution of 1848 that the Communist 
Marx spearheaded proletarian policy against the "compro- 
mising" (the expression is Marx's) liberal bourgeoisie. 111 

Our Russian bourgeoisie is still more cowardly, and our 
proletariat far more class-conscious and better organised 
than was the German proletariat in 1848. In our country 
the full victory of the bourgeois-democratic movement is 
possible only despite the "compromising" liberal bourgeoi- 
sie, only in the event of the mass of the democratic peasantry 
following the proletariat in the struggle for full freedom and 
all the land. 

The Second Duma offers still more striking confirmation 
of this view. Even the peasants have now realised that the 
liberal bourgeoisie, the Constitutional-Democrats, belong to 
the Right, and the peasants and the workers to the Left, 
True, the Trudoviks, Popular Socialists, and Socialist- 
Revolutionaries constantly vacillate between the bourgeoisie 
and the proletariat, and as often as not are in reality political 
hangers-on of the liberals (the voting for Golovin, the "tac- 
tics of silence", agreement to refer the budget to a commis- 
sion, etc., etc. 112 ). This vacillation is not accidental. 
It springs from the class nature of the petty bourgeoisie, 



Why must the Constitutional-Democrats be included among 
the Rights in a question as pressing as that of the land? 
Because the Constitutional-Democrat agrarian policy is 
essentially a landlord policy. The "compulsory alienation" 
advocated by the Constitutional-Democrats actually means 
the landlords compelling the peasants to pay ruinous compen- 
sation, for in fact both the amount of these payments and 
rates of taxation are determined by the landlords; the land- 
lords and officials will constitute the majority in the local 
land committees (in the First Duma the Constitutional- 
Democrats were opposed to the election of these committees 
by universal ballot), and in the central all-Russian legis- 
lature the landlords will be predominant through the Council 
of State, etc. Cadet "liberalism" is the liberalism of the 
bourgeois lawyer who reconciles the peasant with the landlord, 
and does that to the advantage of the landlord* 

Take the second question. The Constitutional-Democrats 
and the Rights constitute a majority in the Duma. "What is 
the way out?" asks Trudovoi Narod. The answer is simple: 
the "way out" is to rise above Duma discussions which lead 

This would be necessary even if the Left had a majority 
in the Duma, for the Duma is powerless, and the Council 
of State would, in the interests of the landlords, "improve" 
any project passed by the Duma. And it is necessary now — 
not from any subjective party viewpoint, but in the objec- 
tive historical sense; unless this is done, the land question 
can be settled only in favour of the landlords. 

Nashe Ekho, No. 7, Published according 

April 1, 1907 to the text in Nashe Ekho 

* In view of what Rech said about the landlord affiliation of 
the Constitutional-Democrats being only a platform catchword, we 
must add this: we estimated 79 unmistakable Constitutional-Demo- 
crats from the well-known book Members of the Second State Duma 
(St. Petersburg, 1907), of these 20 are landlords. We can name Tuch- 
kov, Boguslavsky, Biglov, Bakunin, Rodichev, Bogdanov, Salazkin, 
Tatarinov, Stakhovich, Ikonnikov, Savelyev, Dolgorukov, Chelnokov, 
Golovin, both Pereleshins, Volotsky, Iordansky, Chernosvitov. The 
underlined are Marshals of the Nobility, 113 Rural Superintendents 114 
or chairmen of Zemstvo Boards. 115 



A gradual increase is taking place in the number of daily 
periodicals with a stand more Left than that of the Cadets. 
The voice of the Left section of the Duma, the section 
between the Cadets and the Social-Democrats, is becoming 
more audible. 

The latest addition is the daily press of the Popular 
Socialists. Their newspaper, Obshchestvennoye Dyelo (Sun- 
day, April 1) immediately adopted a highly characteristic 
and noteworthy tone of plaint, regret and repentance. 

What do they complain of? They complain that the Duma 
is "anaemic" (i.e., in plain Russian, bloodless and spine- 

What do they regret? The lengthy supremacy of the slogan 
"Save the Duma". 

What do they repent of? Of their support for Cadet 

It is true that this repentance is far from being real, 
sincere and full — it is not, as the saying goes, fully confessed 
and half redressed. The repentance of the Popular Socialists 
is so insincere that in their first, or repentance, issue they 
reply to us with a malicious statement to the effect that we, 
the Bolshevik Social-Democrats, "solve differences by call- 
ing our opponent ignorant, pitiful", etc., and that we are 
"inaccurate in our facts" in ascribing "entry on to the path 
of conciliation" to our opponent. 

We should not, of course, have taken up our readers' 
time with this question of the sincerity of the Narodnik 
repentance had it not become very intimately and directly 
connected with questions that have a decisive importance in 



assessing the Second Duma as a whole — more than that, in 
assessing the entire Russian revolution. 

The Narodniks are three groups in the Duma united on a 
number of basic questions and conducting a more or less 
united common policy. These groups in some way or another 
reflect the interests and views of a vast mass of the Russian 

The majority of this category of deputies are peasants, 
and it can scarcely be disputed that the peasant masses 
have most precisely expressed their needs (and their preju- 
dices) through this category of Duma deputies, and through 
no other. It follows, therefore, that the policy of the Narod- 
niks in the Duma is connected with the question of the policy 
of the peasant masses, without whose participation there can 
be no talk of victory for the emancipation movement. 

The Popular Socialists are stating an obvious and dis- 
graceful falsehood to the effect that the Social-Democrats 
solve differences by vilification or by falsely ascribing con- 
ciliation to the Trudoviks (i.e., the Narodniks). This is 
untrue, gentlemen, because the Social-Democrats, from 
the very outset of the Second Duma's activities, and quite 
independently of the Narodniks and the struggle against 
them, had already produced that assessment of the notorious 
slogan "Save the Duma" towards which you are now hobbling. 

'"Save the Duma!'" wrote our colleague N. R., 116 on February 21, 
"is the cry that is constantly escaping the lips of the bourgeois elec- 
tors and is being repeated in the bourgeois press, and not only the 
Cadet press but also such 'Left' periodicals as Tovarishch.... The 
secret of the Duma's salvation has long been revealed by the Black- 
Hundred and Octobrist press and by the government. The Duma can 
easily be saved if it is 'able to function' and is 'obedient to the law', 
i.e., if it slavishly prostrates itself to the government, and does not 
venture anything more than timid requests and degrading petitions. 
The Duma can easily be saved if it betrays the cause of national eman- 
cipation and sacrifices that cause to the Black-Hundred gang. The 
Duma, therefore, can only be saved if power remains in the old hands. 
That must be clear to everybody; that must not be forgotten. But can 
the Duma possibly be saved when treachery is the price to be paid? 
Social-Democracy answers that question clearly and loudly: Never! 
The proletariat and the peasantry have no use for a treacherous 
Duma. Not without reason did the Moscow peasantry declare in their 
mandate to their deputy: 'Let them dissolve you, but do not betray 
the will of the people'. If the Duma is to be mainly concerned with 
avoiding irritation of the government, it will lose the confidence of 


the people and will not fulfil the tasks it has been charged with — to 
assist as far as possible in organising the masses of the people for vic- 
tory over reaction and for the triumph of the emancipation move- 
ment.... only the strong are feared. And respect too is only for the 
strong. Hysterical cries of 'Save the Duma' are unworthy of a free 
people and its elected representatives." 

This was written the day after the Second Duma was 
opened. And, it would seem, it is written clearly enough. 

The Narodniks who, in their literature, in their general 
politics and in the Duma, represent the interests of vari- 
ous strata of the petty bourgeoisie, petty proprietors (in the 
towns and, especially, in the countryside — i.e., the peas- 
antry), have now begun to understand that the Social- 
Democrats were speaking the truth. Events have proved the 
correctness of our policy. 

But in order "not to come too late", in order not to become 
a politician who is wise after the event, learning from 
events is not enough. You must understand the course taken 
by events, understand the basic relations between classes, 
which determine the policies of the various parties and of the 
entire Duma. 

"Save the Duma" is a Cadet slogan that gives expression 
to Cadet policy. What is it, in essence? It means an agreement 
with the reactionaries against the people's demands. How is 
this agreement expressed? By submitting to those insti- 
tutions and those limits of activity that are fixed by the 
reactionaries. By turning the demands of liberty and the 
demands of the people into miserable, pitiful, false "reforms" 
that are kept within those limits. Why do the Social-Demo- 
crats call this liberal policy treacherous? Because the defeat 
of all unsuccessful bourgeois revolutions has always been 
possible only because the liberals have come to an agreement 
with the reactionaries, i.e., because of their actually 
going over from people's freedom to reaction. Liberal reform- 
ism during the revolution is a betrayal of people's free- 
dom. It is brought about not by accident, but by the class 
interests of the bourgeoisie and part of the landlords, who 
fear the people, especially the working class. 

The slogan "Save the Duma" is of importance because it 
is a clear expression of the general line of this treacherous 
policy. Individual manifestations of it are: the tactics of 



silence in response to the declaration, the curtailment of the 
tasks set the food and unemployment commissions, the 
curtailment of speeches in the Duma, the replacement of 
the Duma by commissions, the relegation of the budget to a 
commission, etc. 

As representatives of the petty bourgeoisie, the Narodniks 
have supported, and are still supporting, this Cadet policy. 
The Narodniks voted for Golovin instead of abstaining from 
voting. The Narodniks participated in the pitiful "tactics 
of silence", and so did both the Popular Socialists and the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries . Only under the repeated pressure 
of the Social-Democrats did the Narodniks begin to draw 
away from the Constitutional-Democrats. But even now the 
Trudoviks, the Popular Socialists and the Socialist-Revo- 
lutionaries are wavering in all their policies, for they do not 
understand the task of the struggle against the Cadets and 
of their exposure from the Duma platform. 

This wavering is due to the anaemic state of the petty 

This "anaemia" of the petty bourgeoisie, partially due 
to its weariness from the revolution and partially to its 
wavering and unstable (social) character, is the chief cause 
of the "anaemic state of the Duma". And so we say to the 
Narodniks — it's no use blaming the mirror if your looks are 
no good. 

Don't be anaemic in your politics, break off your connec- 
tions with the Cadets; stick determinedly to the prole- 
tariat; leave it to the liberals to save the Duma, and you 
yourselves openly, boldly and firmly save the interests and 
traditions of the emancipation movement — then your re- 
pentance will indeed mean "half redressing"! 

Written on April 2 (15), 1907 

Published on April 3, 1907, 
in Nashe Ekho, No. 8 

Published according 
to the newspaper text 



Yesterday we said that the Narodniks seemed to have 
come to their senses after the Duma had been in existence 
for a month and had begun — I would not say to "understand", 
but at least to sense, the ignominy of the notorious Cadet 
slogan, "Save the Duma!" We showed in that article that 
the Cadet slogan is no accident but the expression of a 
policy determined by the profound class interests of the 
bourgeoisie and the landlords.* 

Today the leading Cadet newspaper Rech (April 3) de- 
votes its editorial to that problem. "The sharp protests 
made during the past few days by the Left newspapers 
against the tactics of 'saving the Duma' are a rather alarm- 
ing symptom," says the Cadet leading article. 

That is how matters stand. We are glad the Cadets have 
also noticed that the Narodniks repent the "saving of the 
Duma". That means that the observations we made yes- 
terday were not wrong, that there really is a movement among 
the petty bourgeoisie from the liberal landlords towards 
the working class. Good luck to them! 

The "save the Duma" tactics are praised by the Cadet 
Rech in terms that deserve to be preserved in perpetuity 
as a gem of banality. Just listen to this: "If the Duma lives 
on, is it not the consciously produced fruit of your [the 
opposition's] efforts? It is the first tangible result of the in- 
tervention of your will in events. This absence of facts is in 

See pp. 337-40 of this volume.— Ed. 



itself a fact of tremendous importance; it is your implemen- 
tation of a plan you have prepared and put into force." 

It is a pity Shchedrin did not live until the "great" Russian 
revolution. He would no doubt have added a fresh chapter 
to The Golovlyov Family in which he would have depicted 
Judas Golovlyov comforting the flogged, humiliated, 
hungry and enslaved muzhik in the following words: "You 
expect improvement? You are disappointed at the lack of 
change in a way of life based on hunger, the birch, the 
knout, and shooting down of the people? You complain of 
the 'absence of facts'? You ingrate! Is not the absence of 
facts in itself a fact of the utmost importance? Is it not the 
conscious result of the intervention of your will that the 
Lidvals still rule as before, that the muzhiks submit calmly 
to being flogged, instead of harbouring harmful dreams of 
the 'poetry of struggle'?" 

It is hard to hate the Black Hundreds; feelings have died 
in the same way as they die, it is said, in war-time after 
a long series of battles, after the long experience of shooting 
at people and spending a long time among bursting shells and 
whistling bullets. War is war — and an open, universal and 
customary war is going on against the Black Hundreds. 

This Judas Golovlyov of a Cadet, however, is capable 
of inspiring the most burning feeling of hatred and contempt. 
The "liberal" landlord and bourgeois advocate is listened 
to; even the peasants listen to him. He really does throw 
dust in the eyes of the people and stupefy them!... 

You cannot fight against the Krushevans with words, 
with the pen. You have to fight against them in another 
way. To fight against counter-revolution with the pen, with 
words, would mean, first and foremost, to expose those dis- 
gusting hypocrites who, in the name of "people's freedom", 
in the name of "democracy", laud political stagnation, the 
silence of the people, the humiliation of the citizen turned 
philistine, and "the absence of facts". You must fight against 
those liberal landlords and bourgeois advocates, who are fully 
satisfied that the people are silent and they themselves are 
able, fearlessly and with impunity, to play at "statesmen" 
and to apply the balm of appeasement to those who "tact- 
lessly" express indignation at the rule of counter-revolu- 



Can one possibly fail to reply in the most scathing terms 
to speeches such as the following? 

"The day when debates in the Taurida Palace will seem as much 
an inevitable item of the day's proceedings as lunch in the afternoon 
and theatre in the evening, when the day's programme will not in- 
terest all collectively, but will have special interest for different 
groups [!!], when debates on general policy will become an excep- 
tion and exercises in abstract rhetoric will actually be impossible 
on account of the absence of an audience—that day may be welcomed 
as the day of the final triumph of representative rule in Russia." 

There's a Judas Golovlyov for you! The day when those 
who have been flogged lose consciousness and are silent 
instead of engaging in "debates", when the landlords will 
be as certain of their old power {strengthened by "liberal" 
reforms) as the liberal Judases are of their lunch in the 
afternoon and their theatre in the evening, that day will be 
the day of the final triumph of "people's freedom". The day 
when reaction is finally triumphant will be the day of the 
final triumph of the constitution.... 

That is the way it was with all betrayals by the bour- 
geoisie in Europe. That is the way it will be ... but will it 
be like that in Russia, gentlemen? 

The Judases try to clear themselves by showing that even 
among the parties of the Left there have been, and still are, 
supporters of "salvation". Fortunately, this time it is not 
the Social-Democrat who is among those misled by the 
Judases, but the Socialist-Revolutionary. The Cadets quote 
passages from the Tammerfors speech of some Socialist- 
Revolutionary, who called for "collaboration" with the 
Cadets, and disputed the timeliness or need to fight against 

We do not know of that speech, or whether Rech is quoting 

But we do know the resolution of the last congress of 
Socialist-Revolutionaries — not some individual speech — and 
that resolution really does express the stultification of the 
petty bourgeois who has been stupefied by the liberal Judas. 

This resolution was printed in the official organ of the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries 117 (issue No. 6, March 8, 1907), 
and it turns out that the old passages from it, those dating 
back to February, are correctly quoted by the newspapers. 



There it actually says in black and white: "The Congress [of 
the S.R.'s] is of the opinion that strict party alignments 
within the Duma, with each group acting on its own in 
isolated fashion, and bitter strife among the groups, might 
completely paralyse the activity of the opposition majority, 
and thus discredit, in the minds of the working classes, 
the very idea of popular representation". At that time (Feb- 
ruary 22) Rech praised that banality. At that time, too 
(February 23), we threw some light on it, and showed the 
petty-bourgeois origin and treacherous liberal significance 
of such a congress resolution.* 

Whether some Socialist-Revolutionary leader will be 
killed politically by the Judas kiss is of no interest to us. 
But the Cadet resolution of the S.R. congress must be a 
thousand times exposed to the workers so as to warn 
wavering Social-Democrats and to break any connection 
between the proletariat and the supposedly revolutionary 


Written on April 3 (16), 1907 

Published on April 4, 1907, 
in Nashe Ekho, No. 9 

Published according 
to the newspaper text 

* S 

ee pp. 165-69 of this volume. — Ed. 



We have to return once again to the incident that was 
enacted in the State Duma in connection with question asked 
regarding the killings and tortures in Riga Prison and with 
the arraignment of seventy-four people before a military 
court. This has to be done, we say, because, amongst other 
things, Narodnaya Duma has for some reason or other seen 
fit to obscure the real meaning of the events and thereby to 
aggravate that extremely unfavourable impression created 
by the conduct of the Social-Democratic group in the Duma 
an this question. 

It is true that Narodnaya Duma also speaks of this first 
question day in the Duma by saying that the first attempt 
was a failure; it is true that Narodnaya Duma points out, 
apropos of this, that "the Duma groups are still poorly adapt- 
ed to parliamentary procedure", but that is not what mat- 
ters. It is our opinion that the Social-Democratic group has 
revealed, not parliamentary but purely political inexperience 
in this matter. It is no misfortune that the Social-Democratic 
group sometimes gets caught in some "formal trap" (Narod- 
naya Duma's words or another; the misfortune is that it 
sometimes quite unnecessarily surrenders its positions and 
does not carry a well-commenced struggle to the end, does 
not consolidate victory behind it when there is every possi- 
bility of so doing. 

Such was the case when a reply was made to the govern- 
ment declaration, and the Social-Democratic group, for no 
reason at all, surrendered a good half of its victory ... to 
Mr. Stolypin; this is what happened on April 3, in connec- 
tion with the question asked about the Riga horrors. 



The Cadets are against questions that have to be answered 
without notice. 118 That is only natural; an urgent question, 
especially one on such a matter as that of the government 
using military courts in their war against the people, always 
contains elements of a "demonstrative act", of pressure 
brought to bear on the ministers. An urgent question on such 
a matter is undoubtedly one of those "facts", one of those 
"acts" on the part of the Duma that do not come under the 
heading of "lunch in the afternoon" or "theatre in the eve- 
ning", to which the servile Rech is so anxious to liken the 
Duma itself. Is it possible that this poison, produced by 
Cadet decomposition, can affect the Left in the Duma, 
including even the Social-Democratic group? We are unwill- 
ing to admit this, yet.... 

"No urgent question is needed," Mr. Rodichev whines 
servilely from the rostrum. "An urgent question in the pres- 
ent instance might wound the ministers' pride." 

We are not in the least surprised at such speeches on the 
lips of a Cadet Mirabeau, who so painstakingly plays his 
role of representative of the tas de blagueurs* in the 

Deputy Djaparidze (Social-Democrat) gave a splendid 
answer to Rodichev. "It is our duty," he reminded the Cadet 
flunkeys, "to say our word when the hand of the executioner 
is raised over his victim." 

Then Kuzmin-Karavayev took the floor and read a telegram 
he had received from the local satrap in Riga, Meller-Zakom- 
elsky — that same Meller-Zakomelsky whose name Siberian 
mothers still use to scare their children with. The telegram 
was most insolent, and full of crude jibes: " Riga there 
has been no reason to arraign either 74, or 70 or even 
4 people; so far there is nobody to save". 

Deputy Alexinsky opposed to this telegram another, re- 
ceived from progressive Riga electors, which said that the 
arraignment before a military court was being arranged. 

Deputy Alexinsky, who insisted with good reason on the 
urgency of the question, was followed by the Trudovik and 
the Socialist-Revolutionary groups, which supported the 
demand of urgency. 

Gang of chatterboxes. 



Then the Cadets began to withdraw. Pergament did not 
even put forward an argument, but requested the Duma Left 
not to insist on urgency, offering on behalf of the Questions 
Commission to put this question through the commission 
within twenty-four hours. Only, he begged, don't insist 
on a reply from the floor. 

Bulgakov, the unctuous mystic, then spoke and, to achieve 
the same rejection of urgency, asked that no party passion 
be brought into the question. Mr. Bulgakov would have done 
well first to explain to his party colleagues that in such mat- 
ters servility is permissible to an even lesser degree than in 
others, and will naturally arouse party passions to the 
paroxysms nobody desires. 

After Bulgakov came Kiesewetter, bringing another step 
towards the Left, another minor concession. Kiesewetter 
proposed passing the question on to the commission so that 
it could be handled "out of turn". 

Delarov of the Popular Socialists spoke in favour of 

In other words, the entire Left was against the Cadets 
with a unanimity rare in the Duma. It became clearer that 
the issue would be a political one, and that the struggle 
begun against Cadet servility would have to be carried 
through to its conclusion. Read A. Stolypin's "Notes" in 
Novoye Vremya for April 4. How he showers praises on the 
Cadet Party! How he attacks his allies, the "Rights", to 
make them realise, at long last, that in such cases they 
must not speak so sharply, or scare the Cadets from the 
path of conciliation they are now following! "Sincerity and 
seriousness", be pleased to note, were heard by Mr. Stolypin 
"in the speeches of the Cadets" on that day! 

And then, when the Social-Democratic group already had 
victory within its grasp, Tsereteli got up and said that the 
group withdrew its motion of urgency. Why? What were the 
motives? There was absolutely no reason to suppose that a 
question passed on to a commission would be more effective 
than a question answered from the floor. And, of course, 
nobody will risk saying that it would. 

Tsereteli had no grounds whatsoever for his statement. 
It amounts to lambasting oneself in the fullest sense of the 
word. The day of April 3 does not stand to the credit of the 



Social-Democratic group. And, we repeat, this is not a case 
of parliamentary inexperience. It is a case of that political 
flaccidity, that indecisiveness of the Social-Democratic 
group, which has made itself felt on several previous occa- 
sions, and has prevented the group from becoming the real 
leader of the entire Duma Left. We must not close our eyes 
to this, but must strive to get rid of it! 

Written on April 4 (17), 1907 

Published on April 5, 1907, Published according 

in Nashe Ekho, No. 10 to the newspaper text 




An article with the above title in yesterday's Narodnaya 
Duma is an example of a calm, clear, simple exposition of 
the real differences in principle among the Social-Demo- 
crats. It is as pleasant and useful to conduct a dispute on 
such a basis, as it is unpleasant and impossible to answer 
the hysterics of Privet 119 or Otgoloski. 

To get down to business. Differences have arisen over 
the appraisal of the Cadets and the Narodniks. With regard 
to the Cadets, according to the perfectly correct opinion 
of Narodnaya Duma, the differences boil down to the question 
of whom they represent. "The middle and petty, mainly ur- 
ban, bourgeoisie," answers Narodnaya Duma. "The economic 
basis of these parties is provided by a section of the middle 
landlords and the middle bourgeoisie, especially the bourgeois 
intelligentsia, while a section of the urban and rural 
petty-bourgeois democrats still follow these parties merely 
by force of tradition and because they are deliberately 
deceived by the liberals."* 

Clearly the Mensheviks are more optimistic in their as- 
sessment of the Cadets than we are. They gloss over or deny 
their links with the landlords, while we stress them. They 
stress their links with the urban democratic petty bour- 
geoisie, while we consider those links extremely weak. 

As far as the landlords are concerned, Narodnaya Duma 
says that our statement in Nashe Ekho, No. 7, is naive — 
the statement in which we estimated twenty landlords, 
not in the past (that was a mistake on the part of Narodnaya 

See p. 137 of this volume.— Ed. 



Duma) but in the present Cadet group in the Duma.* There 
are millionaires and high-ranking officials even among the 
Social-Democrats, says Narodnaya Duma ironically. 

Feeble irony! Everybody realises that the Singers, Aronses 
and Nalivkins are instances of individuals going over from 
the bourgeoisie to the proletariat. But, gentlemen, would 
you seriously insist that twenty landlords (out of the sev- 
enty-nine members forming the Constitutional-Demo- 
cratic group, i.e., a quarter) are individual followers of 
sixty bourgeois intellectuals, and not vice versa? Will 
you insist that it is the landlords who are conducting a 
liberal-intellectualist policy and not the liberal intellec- 
tuals who are conducting the policy of the landlords? Your 
joke about Singer and Comrade Nalivkin — that was nothing 
more than a nice little joke to cover up a hopeless position. 

The composition of the Cadet Duma group, of course, 
is not the main proof, but merely a symptom. The 
main proof lies, first of all, in the history of landlord lib- 
eralism in Russia (as Narodnaya Duma admits); secondly — 
and this is the main thing — it lies in an analysis of the 
present-day policy of the Constitutional-Democrats. "The 
Cadet agrarian policy is essentially [note this] a landlord 
policy" (Nashe Ekho, No. 7). "Cadet 'liberalism' is the 
liberalism of the bourgeois lawyer who reconciles the 
peasant with the landlord, and does that to the advantage 
of the landlord" (ibid.).** 

Narodnaya Duma has no answer to this argument. 

To continue. How do they demonstrate the class links 
between the Constitutional-Democratic Party and the urban 
democratic petty bourgeoisie? By using election statistics — 
the towns return mostly Cadets, that is a fact. But it is 
no proof. In the first place, our election law gives preference 
to the non-democratic strata of the urban bourgeoisie. 
Everybody knows that the popular assemblies express more 
precisely the views and temper "of the democratic petty 
bourgeoisie of the towns". Secondly, the Cadets are stronger 
and the Lefts weaker in the urban curias of the big cities 
than in those of the small towns. This is shown by the sta- 
tistics on electors. Hence it follows that the Cadets represent, 

*See p. 336 of this volume.— Ed. 


not the democratic petty bourgeoisie, but the liberal middle 
bourgeoisie. The bigger the town, the sharper the antagonism 
between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and the strong- 
er the Cadets in the urban (bourgeois) curia, as compared 
with the Lefts. Thirdly, in twenty-two big cities where there 
was a Left bloc, the Rights obtained 17,000 votes, the Octob- 
rists 34,000, the Cadets, 74,000, and the Lefts 41,000 votes. 
It was possible at one go to deprive the Cadets of such a 
large number of votes, only because they are not democrats. 
Everywhere, all over the world, liberal lawyers have de- 
ceived the democratic petty bourgeoisie, and have been 
exposed by the socialists. 

"Is it true," asked Narodnaya Duma, "that our middle and 
petty bourgeoisie are already interested in the suppression 
of the revolution so as to break down the forces of the pro- 
letariat, which constitute a direct threat to them?" And 
itself answers: "It is definitely not true." 

These words provide a definitely untrue expression of 
our views. This, comrades, means polemics without princi- 
ples. You know very well that we distinguish between the 
counter-revolutionary nature of the Cadets and that of the 
Octobrists; that we do not include the petty bourgeoisie in 
our accusation of counter-revolutionariness; that we believe 
that the Cadet landlords fear not only the workers, but the 
peasants as well. You are distorting, not objecting. 

The next argument by Narodnaya Duma actually is 
an objection. The Cadets become more moderate and more 
reactionary as the revolution declines, and not as it rises, 
i.e., not because of their counter-revolutionary nature but 
because of their weakness. The Cadets' tactics, says Narod- 
naya Duma in italics "are not the tactics of counter-revolu- 
tionary strength but the tactics of revolutionary impotence" . 

It thus appears that the Cadets are revolutionaries too, 
hut only impotent revolutionaries. A monstrous conclusion 
to draw. To arrive at this howling incongruity, they had to 
argue from a radically erroneous premise. That error is 
the denial of the landlord character of the Cadets (in Russia 
the landlord is counter-revolutionary either in the Black- 
Hundred and Octobrist manner, or in the Cadet manner) 
and the denial of the fact that bourgeois intellectuals pre- 
dominate among the Cadets. If we rectify these two errors, 



we get the correct conclusion: the tactics of the Constitutional- 
Democrats are the tactics of landlord counter-revolution 
and bourgeois-intellectual impotence. The landlords are a 
counter-revolutionary force. So are the big bourgeoisie. 
The bourgeois intellectual and the liberal government of- 
ficial are their cowardly servants, who hide their servility 
to counter-revolution behind a mask of "democratic" hy- 

It is not true that the Cadets "shifted to the Right" only 
with the decline, not with the upsurge, of the revolution. 
Remember Nachalo, 120 comrades from Narodnaya Duma. 
Remember articles in the spirit of "Witte Is the Agent of 
the Bourse, Struve Is the Agent of Witte". Those were excel- 
lent articles! And those were excellent times — we did not 
then disagree with the Mensheviks in our assessment of 
the Cadets.... To provide a correct picture of the Cadets' 
attitude to the upsurge, or upsurges, of the revolution, we 
must say — when the revolution shows itself in the streets, 
the Cadet shows himself in the minister's ante-chamber. 

Struve went to Witte in November 1905. Somebody from 
the Cadets visited somebody from the Black Hundreds in June 
1906. Milyukov went to Stolypin on January 15, 1907. As 
it was, so will it be.... 

* * 

Giving an economic basis for its views on the Cadets, 
Narodnaya Duma concludes: 

"Owing to the Russia's poor urban development and the 
dominant influence of big enterprises in urban industry, 
our urban middle and petty bourgeoisie has too small an 
influence on the general economic life of the country to feel 
itself the independent political force that those classes in 
England and France at one time felt themselves to be...." 
Very good and perfectly correct. Only it does not apply to 
the Cadets. And, furthermore, thereby disappears that alleg- 
edly Marxist counterposing of "big urban progressive" and 
"petty rural backward" bourgeoisie that has often been used 
in an attempt to justify Menshevik tactics.... "They cannot 
make the proletariat their tool because the proletariat is 
already fighting under its own Social-Democratic banner...." 


Very true! "This is the source of all its wavering, of all its 
indecisiveness, in the struggle against the autocratic semi- 
feudal system...." Again very true, but it does not apply 
to the Cadets, it applies to the Trudovik parties and groups 
who find their support not only in the rural but in the urban 
petty bourgeoisie! 

"This relative weakness of urban bourgeois democracy also ex- 
plains the fact that as soon as our bourgeois democrats begin shift- 
ing to the Left they immediately lose the urban soil under their 
feet and become entangled in the peasant-Narodnik swamp...." 

True, a thousand times true! We did not even dare dream 
of such complete confirmation of Bolshevik tactics on the 
part of Narodnaya Duma. "As soon as our bourgeois demo- 
crats begin shifting to the Left, they become Narodniks." 
That is exactly how it is — Left bourgeois democrats are 
Narodniks. The Cadets only pretend to be democrats; actual- 
ly they are not democrats at all. Therefore, insofar as the 
proletariat have to carry on the bourgeois revolution in the 
company of bourgeois democracy, they are so far fated to 
act in a political "bloc" in the broad sense of the term, that 
including not only electoral and not only parliamentary 
agreements, but also joint action without any agreement 
with the Left, that is, the Narodnik, petty bourgeoisie, 
against the Black Hundreds and against the Cadets! 

Quod erat demonstrandum. 

Next time we will talk to Narodnaya Duma specifically 
about the Narodniks. 


If we recognise that the "Narodniks are the Left neigh- 
bours of the Cadets", that they "constantly waver between 
the Cadets and the Social-Democrats", this must inevitably 
lead to a recognition of the Bolshevik policy — compel the 
Narodniks to take the side of Social-Democracy, against 
the Black Hundreds and against the Constitutional-Demo- 

The Mensheviks are trying to weaken the inescapable 
conclusion to be drawn from their admissions, or to avoid 

* Since the government has suppressed Narodnaya Duma we 
shall, as far as possible, eliminate direct polemics with that paper, 
and deal with Marxism's assessment of Narodism in principle. 



it by reference to the fact that the peasantry, while being 
"more revolutionary and more democratic" than the liber- 
als, are, at the same time, "imbued with reactionary social 
Utopias" and are striving to "turn back the wheel of history 
in the sphere of economy". 

This argument, common enough in our Social-Democratic 
literature, contains a big error from the standpoint of logic 
and of economic history. Here yards are compared with 
pounds, the reactionary nature of peasant ideas about the 
socialist revolution is compared with the reactionary nature 
of liberal politics in the bourgeois revolution. 

If the peasants undoubtedly favour reactionary Utopias 
in respect of the tasks of socialism, the liberal bourgeoi- 
sie, in respect of those same tasks, favours reactionary ex- 
cesses similar to those of June 1848 or May 1871. 

If, in the present, i.e., the bourgeois, revolution, the 
peasants and their ideologists, the Narodniks, conduct a 
reactionary policy as compared with the liberals, a Marxist 
would never recognise the Narodniks as being more to the 
Left, more revolutionary and more democratic than the 

Obviously there is something wrong here. 

Compare the agrarian policy of the liberals with that 
of the Narodniks. Does it contain features that are at pres- 
ent economically reactionary? In both parties the urge 
to limit mobilisation of land ownership is reactionary. The 
bureaucratic nature of the Cadet agrarian policy (landlord- 
bureaucratic land committees) makes its reactionary nature 
much more dangerous in practice and immediately. And so, 
on this point the comparison does not favour the liberals. 

"Equalitarianism" in land tenure.... The idea of the 
equality of small producers is reactionary because it is an 
attempt to seek in the past and not in the future the solution 
of the tasks of the socialist revolution. The proletariat does 
not bring with itself the socialism of equality for petty 
proprietors, but the socialism of large-scale socialised pro- 
duction. But that same idea of equality is the fullest, most 
consistent and most decisive expression of bourgeois- 
democratic tasks. Those Marxists who have forgotten this 
are advised to turn to Volume I of Marx's Capital or to 
Engels's Anti-Duhring. The idea of equality most completely 


expresses the struggle against all the survivals of the serf- 
owning system, the struggle for the broadest and purest 
development of commodity production. 

Our people frequently forget this when they speak of 
the reactionary nature of Narodnik "equalitarian" agrarian 

It is not only ideologically that equality expresses the 
most complete implementation of the conditions of free 
capitalism and commodity production. Materially too, in the 
sphere of the economic relations of an agriculture emerging 
from the state of serfdom, the equality of petty producers is 
a condition for the broadest, most complete, free and rapid 
development of capitalist agriculture. 

This development has been proceeding in Russia for a 
long time. It has been accelerated by the revolution. The 
only question is — will it follow, say, the Prussian type 
(the retention of landlord farming with the Knecht in bond- 
age and paying "according to a just estimate" for a starva- 
tion minimum of land), or the American type (the abolition 
of landlord farming and the transfer of all the land to the 

That is the basic problem of our entire bourgeois-demo- 
cratic revolution, the question that will decide its defeat 
or victory. 

The Social-Democrats demand the transfer of all the 
land to the peasants without compensation, i.e., they strug- 
gle determinedly for the second type of capitalist develop- 
ment, the type that is advantageous to the people. In the 
peasants' struggle against the feudal-minded landlords, 
the idea of equality is the strongest ideological impetus 
in the struggle for land — and the establishment of equality 
between petty producers is the most complete abolition of 
all and every survival of serfdom. The idea of equality, 
therefore, is the most revolutionary idea for the peasant 
movement, not only because it stimulates the political strug- 
gle, but also because it stimulates the economic purging 
of agriculture of serfdom's survivals. 

Insofar as the Narodniks hold the opinion that equality 
may be maintained on a basis of commodity production 
and that that equality may be an element of the development 
to socialism, their views are erroneous and their socialism 



reactionary. That is something every Marxist should know 
and remember. The Marxist, however, would be unfaithful 
to his historical analysis of the specific tasks of the bour- 
geois-democratic revolution if he were to forget that this 
very idea of equality and the many different equalitarian 
plans are the fullest possible expression of the tasks of 
the bourgeois revolution, not the socialist, and that they 
express the tasks, not of the struggle against capitalism, 
but of the struggle against the rule of the landlords and 

One alternative is evolution of the Prussian type — the 
serf-owning landlord becomes a Junker; the landlords' 
power in the state is consolidated for a decade; monarchy: 
"military despotism, embellished in parliamentary forms" in- 
stead of democracy; the greatest inequality among the rural 
and non-rural population. The second alternative is evolu- 
tion of the American type — the abolition of landlord farming; 
the peasant becomes a free farmer; popular government; 
the bourgeois-democratic political system; the greatest equal- 
ity among the rural population as the starting point of, 
and a condition for, free capitalism. 

Such are the historical alternatives that are coloured by 
the hypocrisy of the Cadets (who would lead the country 
along the first path) and the socially reactionary utopianism 
of the Narodniks (who would lead the country along the 
second path). 

It is obvious that the proletariat must devote all its 
efforts to supporting the latter path. Only by so doing will 
the labouring classes speedily get rid of the last bourgeois 
illusions — for the socialism of equality is the last bourgeois 
illusion of the petty proprietor. Only in that case will the 
masses of the people, learning from reality and not from 
books, speedily gain practical experience of the impotence 
of all types of equalitarian plans, impotence in face of the 
power of capital. Only in that case will the proletariat speed- 
ily shake off "Trudovik" (i.e., petty-bourgeois) traditions, 
rid itself of the bourgeois-democratic tasks that inevitably 
devolve upon it now, and devote itself entirely to its own, 
truly class (i.e., socialist) tasks. 

It is only failure to understand the relationship between 
bourgeois-democratic and socialist tasks that leads some 


Social-Democrats to fear the consummation of the bour- 
geois revolution. 

Only failure to understand the tasks and essential nature 
of the bourgeois revolution can give rise to arguments like 
the following: "It [our revolution] has not, in the final anal- 
ysis, been engendered by the interests of the peasants, but 
[??] by the interests of developing bourgeois society", or, 
"this revolution is bourgeois and, therefore [!!??1 it cannot 
proceed under a peasant banner and peasant leadership" 
(Narodnaya Duma, No. 21, April 4). From this it seems that 
peasant farming in Russia does not rest on a bourgeois basis, 
but on some other! The interests of the peasant masses are 
precisely the interests of the most complete, rapid and 
extensive "development of bourgeois society", a development 
of the "American" and not the "Prussian" type. It is exactly 
for this reason that the bourgeois revolution may proceed 
"under peasant leadership" (more correctly: under proletar- 
ian leadership, if the peasants, wavering between the Ca- 
dets and the Social-Democrats, in general follow the Social- 
Democrats). The bourgeois revolution under the leadership 
of the bourgeoisie can only be an unconsummated revolution 
(i.e., strictly speaking, not revolution but reform). It can 
be a real revolution only under the leadership of the prole- 
tariat and the peasantry. 

Nashe Ekho, Nos. 11 and 12, 
April 5 and 7, 1907 

Published according 
to the text in Nashe Ekho 




Written on April 6 (19), 1907 

Published in 1907 in the book Published according 

Letters by Johannes Becker, Joseph Dietzgen, to the text in the book 

Frederick Engels, Karl Marx, and Others 
to Friedrich Sorge and Others. 
Published by P. G. Dauge, 
St. Petersburg 
Signed: N. Lenin 


The collection of letters by Marx, Engels, Dietzgen, 
Becker and other leaders of the international working-class 
movement in the last century, here presented to the Russian 
public, is an indispensable complement to our advanced 
Marxist literature. 

We shall not here dwell in detail on the importance of 
these letters for the history of socialism and for a compre- 
hensive treatment of the activities of Marx and Engels. 
This aspect of the matter requires no explanation. We 
shall only remark that an understanding of the letters 
published calls for acquaintance with the principal works 
on the history of the International (see Jaeckh, The Interna- 
tional, Russian translation in the Znaniye edition), and also 
the history of the German and the American working- 
class movements (see Franz Mehring, History of German 
Social-Democracy , and Morris Hillquit, History of Socialism 
in the United States), etc. 

Nor do we intend here to attempt to give a general outline 
of the contents of this correspondence or an appreciation 
of the various historical periods to which it relates. Mehring 
has done this extremely well in his article, Der Sorgesche 
Briefwechsel (Neue Zeit, 25. Jahrg., Nr. 1 und 2),* which 
will probably be appended to the present translation by the 
publisher, or else will be issued as a separate Russian pub- 

Of particular interest to Russian socialists in the present 
revolutionary period are the lessons which the militant 
proletariat must draw from an acquaintance with the in- 
timate aspects of the activities of Marx and Engels in the 

* "The Sorge Correspondence", Neue Zeit, 25th year, Nos. 1 and 
2.— Ed. 



course of nearly thirty years (1867-95). It is, therefore, not 
surprising that the first attempts made in our Social- 
Democratic literature to acquaint readers with the letters 
from Marx and Engels to Sorge were also linked up with the 
"burning" issues of Social-Democratic tactics in the Russian 
revolution (Plekhanov's Sovremennaya Zhizn and the Men- 
shevik Otkliki 121 ). And we intend to draw our readers' 
attention particularly to an appreciation of those passages 
in the published correspondence that are specially impor- 
tant from the viewpoint of the present tasks of the workers' 
party in Russia. 

In their letters, Marx and Engels deal most frequently 
with the pressing problems of the British, American and 
German working-class movements. This is natural, because 
they were Germans who at that time lived in England and 
corresponded with their American comrade. Marx expressed 
himself much more frequently and in much greater detail 
on the French working-class movement, and particularly the 
Paris Commune, in the letters he wrote to the German Social- 
Democrat Kugelmann.* 

It is highly instructive to compare what Marx and Engels 
said of the British, American and German working-class 
movements. Such comparison acquires all the greater im- 
portance when we remember that Germany on the one hand, 
and Britain and America on the other, represent different 
stages of capitalist development and different forms of 
domination of the bourgeoisie, as a class, over the entire 
political life of those countries. From the scientific point 
of view, we have here a sample of materialist dialectics, the 
ability to bring to the forefront and stress the various 
points, the various aspects of the problem, in application to 
the specific features of different political and economic 
conditions. From the point of view of the practical policy 
and tactics of the workers' party, we have here a sample of 
the way in which the creators of the Communist Manifesto 
defined the tasks of the fighting proletariat in accordance 
with the different stages of the national working-class 
movements in the different countries. 

* See Letters of Karl Marx to Dr. Kugelmann, Russian transla- 
tion edited by N. Lenin, with a foreword by the editor. St. Peters- 
burg, 1907. (See pp. 104-12 of this volume.— Ed.) 



What Marx and Engels criticise most sharply in British 
and American socialism is its isolation from the working- 
class movement. The burden of all their numerous comments 
on the Social-Democratic Federation in Britain and on the 
American socialists is the accusation that they have reduced 
Marxism to a dogma, to "rigid [starre] orthodoxy", that 
they consider it "a credo and not a guide to action" , 122 
that they are incapable of adapting themselves to the theo- 
retically helpless, but living and powerful mass working- 
class movement that is marching alongside them. "Had 
we from 1864 to 1873 insisted on working together only with 
those who openly adopted our platform," Engels exclaimed in 
his letter of January 27, 1887, "where should we be today?" 123 
And in the preceding letter (December 28, 1886), he wrote, 
with reference to the influence of Henry George's ideas on 
the American working class: 

"A million or two of working men's votes next November for a 
bona fide working men's party is worth infinitely more at present 
than a hundred thousand votes for a doctrinally perfect platform." 

These are very interesting passages. There are Social- 
Democrats in our country who have hastened to utilise 
them in defence of the idea of a "labour congress" or something 
in the nature of Larin's "broad labour party". Why not in 
defence of a "Left bloc"? we would ask these precipitate 
"utilisers" of Engels. The letters the quotations are taken 
from refer to a time when American workers voted at the 
elections for Henry George. Mrs. Wischnewetzky — an 
American woman married to a Russian and translator of 
Engels's works — had asked him, as may be seen from Engels's 
reply, to give a thorough criticism of Henry George. Engels 
wrote (December 28, 1886) that the time had not yet arrived 
for that, the main thing being that the workers' party should 
begin to organise itself, even if not on an entirely pure pro- 
gramme. Later on, the workers would themselves come to 
understand what was amiss, "would learn from their own 
mistakes", but "any thing that might delay or prevent that 
national consolidation of the workingmen's party — on 
no matter what platform — I should consider a great mis- 
take...". 124 

It goes without saying that Engels had a perfect under- 
standing, and frequently spoke, of the absurdity and reaction- 



ary character of Henry George's ideas, from the socialist 
point of view. The Sorge correspondence contains a most 
interesting letter from Karl Marx dated June 20, 1881, in 
which he characterised Henry George as an ideologist of 
the radical bourgeoisie. "Theoretically the man is utterly 
backward" {total arriere), wrote Marx. 125 Yet Engels was 
not afraid to join with this socialist reactionary in the elec- 
tions, so long as there were people who could tell the 
masses of "the consequences of their own mistakes" (Engels, 
in the letter dated November 29, 1886). 126 

Regarding the Knights of Labour, an organisation of 
American workers existing at that time, Engels wrote in 
the same letter: "The weakest [literally: rottenest, faulste] 
side of the Knights of Labor was their political neutrality.... 
The first great step, of importance for every country newly 
entering into the movement, is always the constitution of 
the workers as an independent political party, no matter 
how, so long as it is a distinct workers' party." 127 

It is obvious that from this nothing at all can be deduced 
in defence of a leap from Social-Democracy to a non-party 
labour congress, etc. But whoever would escape Engels's 
accusation of reducing Marxism to a "dogma", "orthodoxy", 
"sectarianism", etc., must conclude from it that a joint 
election campaign with radical "social-reactionaries" is 
sometimes permissible. 

But what is more interesting, of course, is to dwell not 
so much on these American-Russian parallels (we had to 
refer to them so as to reply to our opponents), as on the 
fundamental features of the British and American working- 
class movements. These features are: the absence of any 
big, nation-wide, democratic tasks facing the proletariat; 
the proletariat's complete subordination to bourgeois pol- 
itics; the sectarian isolation of groups, of mere handfuls 
of socialists, from the proletariat; not the slightest socialist 
success among the working masses at the elections, etc. 
Whoever forgets these fundamental conditions and sets 
out to draw broad conclusions from "American-Russian 
parallels", displays the greatest superficiality. 

If Engels laid so much stress on the workers' economic 
organisations in these conditions, it was because the most 
firmly established democratic systems were under discus- 



sion, and these confronted the proletariat with purely so- 
cialist tasks. 

Engels stressed the importance of an independent workers' 
party, even with a poor programme, because he was speaking 
of countries where there had formerly been not even a hint 
of the workers' political independence and where, in poli- 
tics, the workers mostly dragged along behind the bour- 
geoisie, and still do. 

It would be making mock of Marx's historical method 
to attempt to apply conclusions drawn from such arguments 
to countries or historical situations where the proletariat 
has formed its party prior to the liberal bourgeoisie forming 
theirs, where the tradition of voting for bourgeois politicians 
is absolutely unknown to the proletariat, and where the 
immediate tasks are not socialist but bourgeois-democratic. 

Our idea will become even clearer to the reader if we 
compare Engels's opinions on the British and American 
movements with his opinions on the German movement. 

Such opinions, of the greatest interest, abound in the 
published correspondence too. And running like a scarlet 
thread through all these opinions is something vastly 
different — a warning against the "Right wing" of the work- 
ers' party, a merciless (sometimes — as with Marx in 1877- 
79 — a furious) war against opportunism in Social-Democracy. 

Let us first corroborate this by quoting from the letters, 
and then proceed to an appraisal of this fact. 

First of all, we must here note the opinions expressed by 
Marx on Hochberg and Co. In his article Der Sorgesche Brief- 
wechsel, Franz Mehring attempts to tone down Marx's 
attacks — as well as Engels's later attacks — against the 
opportunists and, in our opinion, rather overdoes it. As 
regards Hochberg and Co., in particular, Mehring insists 
on his view that Marx's judgement of Lassalle and the Las- 
salleans was wrong. But, we repeat, what interests us here 
is not an historical assessment of whether Marx's attacks 
against particular socialists were correct or exaggerated, 
but Marx's assessment in principle, of definite trends in 
socialism in general. 

While complaining about the German Social-Democrats' 
compromises with the Lassalleans and Diihring (letter of 
October 19, 1877), Marx also condemns the compromise 



"with a whole gang of half-mature students and super- 
wise diploma'd doctors [in German "doctor" is an academic 
degree corresponding to our "candidate" or "university grad- 
uate, class I"], who want to give socialism a 'higher, ide- 
alistic' orientation, that is to say, to replace its materialist- 
ic basis (which demands serious objective study from anyone 
who tries to use it) by modern mythology with its god- 
desses of Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Dr. 
Hochberg, who publishes the Zukunft, is a representative 
of this tendency, and has 'bought his way' into the Party — 
with the 'noblest' intentions, I assume, but I do not give a 
damn for 'intentions'. Anything more miserable than his 
programme of the Zukunft has seldom seen the light of day 
with more 'modest presumption'." (Letter No. 70. ) 128 

In another letter, written almost two years later (Sep- 
tember 19, 1879), Marx rebutted the gossip that Engels 
and he stood behind /. Most, and gave Sorge a detailed 
account of his attitude towards the opportunists in the 
German Social-Democratic Party. Zukunft was run by Hoch- 
berg, Schramm and Eduard Bernstein. Marx and Engels 
refused to have anything to do with such a publication, and 
when the question was raised of establishing a new Party 
organ with the participation of this same Hochberg and with 
his financial assistance, Marx and Engels first demanded the 
acceptance of their nominee, Hirsch, as editor-in-chief, to 
exercise control over this "mixture of doctors, students and 
Katheder-Sociatists" 129 and then addressed a circular letter 
directly to Bebel, Liebknecht and other leaders of the Social- 
Democratic Party, warning them that they would openly 
combat "such a vulgarisation [Verluderung — an even stronger 
word in German] of Party and theory", if the Hochberg, 
Schramm and Bernstein trend did not change. 

This was the period in the German Social-Democratic 
Party which Mehring described in his History as "A Year 
of Confusion" ("Ein Jahr der Verwirrung"). After the Anti- 
Socialist Law, the Party did not at once find the right path, 
first swinging over to the anarchism of Most and the oppor- 
tunism of Hochberg and Co. "These people," Marx wrote of 
the latter, "nonentities in theory and useless in practice, 
want to draw the teeth of socialism (which they have fixed 
up in accordance with the university recipes) and partic- 



ularly of the Social-Democratic Party, to enlighten the 
workers or, as they put it, to imbue them with 
'elements of education' from their confused half-knowledge, 
and above all to make the Party respectable in the eyes of 
the petty bourgeoisie. They are just wretched counter- 
revolutionary windbags." 130 

The result of Marx's "furious" attack was that the oppor- 
tunists retreated and — made themselves scarce. In a letter 
dated November 19, 1879, Marx announced that Hochberg 
had been removed from the editorial committee and that 
all the influential leaders of the Party — Bebel, Liebknecht, 
Bracke, etc. 131 — had repudiated his ideas. Sozial-Demokrat , 
the Social-Democratic Party organ, began to appear under 
the editorship of Vollmar, who at that time belonged to the 
revolutionary wing of the Party. A year later (November 5, 
1880), Marx related that he and Engels constantly fought 
the "miserable" way in which Sozial-Demokrat was being 
conducted, and often expressed their opinion sharply ("ico- 
beis oft scharf hergeht"). Liebknecht visited Marx in 1880 
and promised that there would be an "improvement" in 
all respects. 132 

Peace was restored, and the war never came out into 
the open. Hochberg withdrew, and Bernstein became a 
revolutionary Social-Democrat — at least until the death of 
Engels in 1895. 

On June 20, 1882, Engels wrote to Sorge and spoke of 
this struggle as being a thing of the past: "In general, 
things in Germany are going splendidly. It is true that the 
literary gentlemen in the Party tried to cause a reactionary 
... swing, but they failed miserably. The abuse to which 
the Social-Democratic workers are being everywhere sub- 
jected has made them still more revolutionary than they 
were three years ago.... These people [the Party literary 
people] wanted at all costs to beg and secure the repeal 
of the Anti-Socialist Law by mildness and meekness, fawn- 
ing and humility, because it has made short shrift of their 
literary earnings. As soon as the law is repealed ... the 
split will apparently become an open one, and the Vierecks 
and Hochbergs will form a separate Right wing, where they 
can, from time to time, be treated with, until they finally 
land on their backsides. We announced this immediately 



after the adoption of the Anti-Socialist Law, when Hochberg 
and Schramm published in the Yearbook what was a most 
infamous judgement of the work of the Party and demanded 
more cultivated ["jehUd-etcs" instead of gebildetes — Engels 
is alluding to the Berlin accent of the German writers], 
refined and elegant behaviour of the Party." 133 

This forecast of Bernsteinism, made in 1882, was strik- 
ingly confirmed in 1898 and subsequent years. 

And after that, and particularly after Marx's death, 
Engels, it may be said without exaggeration, was untiring 
in his efforts to straighten out what was being distorted by 
the German opportunists. 

The end of 1884. The "petty-bourgeois prejudices" of 
the German Social-Democratic Reichstag deputies, who had 
voted for the steamship subsidy ("D amp fer subvention", see 
Mehring's History), were condemned. Engels informed Sorge 
that he had to correspond a great deal on this subject (letter 
of December 31, 1884). 134 

1885. Giving his opinion of the whole affair of the "Damp- 
fer subvention", Engels wrote (June 3) that "it almost came 
to a split". The "philistinism" of the Social-Democratic 
deputies was "colossal" . "A petty-bourgeois socialist parli- 
amentary group is inevitable in a country like Germany," 
said Engels. 135 

1887. Engels replied to Sorge, who had written to him, 
that the Party was disgracing itself by electing such depu- 
ties as Viereck (a Social-Democrat of the Hochberg type 
Engels excused himself, saying that there was nothing to 
be done, the workers' Party could not find good deputies for 
the Reichstag. "The gentlemen of the Right wing know that 
they are being tolerated only because of the Anti-Socialist 
Law, and that they will be thrown out of the Party the very 
day the Party again secures freedom of action." And, in 
general, it was preferable that "the Party should be better 
than its parliamentary heroes, than the other way round" 
(March 3, 1887). Liebknecht is a conciliator — Engels com- 
plained — he always uses phrases to gloss over differences. 
But when it comes to a split, he will be with us at the deci- 
sive moment. 136 

1889. Two international Social-Democratic congresses 
in Paris. The opportunists (headed by the French Possibi- 



lists 137 ) split away from the revolutionary Social-Demo- 
crats. Engels (who was then sixty-eight years old) flung 
himself into the fight with the ardour of youth. A number of 
letters (from January 12 to July 20, 1889) were devoted to 
the fight against the opportunists. Not only they, but also 
the Germans — Liebknecht, Bebel and others — were flagel- 
lated for their conciliatory attitude. 

The Possibilists had sold themselves to the French Gov- 
ernment, Engels wrote on January 12, 1889. And he accused 
the members of the British Social-Democratic Federation 
(S.D.F.) of having allied themselves with the Possibilists. 138 
"The writing and running about in connection with this 
damned congress leave me no time for anything else" (May 
11, 1889). The Possibilists are busy, but our people are 
asleep, Engels wrote angrily. Now even Auer and Schippel 
are demanding that we attend the Possibilist congress. 
But "at last" this opened Liebknecht's eyes. Engels, togeth- 
er with Bernstein, wrote pamphlets (they were signed by 
Bernstein but Engels called them "our pamphlets") against 
the opportunists. 139 

"With the exception of the S.D.F. , the Possibilists have not 
a single socialist organisation on their side in the whole 
of Europe. [June 8, 1889.] They are consequently falling 
back on the non-socialist trade unions" (this for the infor- 
mation of those who advocate a broad labour party, a la- 
bour congress, etc., in our country!). "From America they 
will get one Knight of Labor." The adversary was the 
same as in the fight against the Bakuninists 140 : "only with 
this difference that the banner of the anarchists has been 
replaced by the banner of the Possibilists: the selling 
of principles to the bourgeoisie for small-scale concessions, 
especially in return for well-paid jobs for the leaders 
(on the city councils, labour exchanges, etc.)." Brousse 
(the leader of the Possibilists) and Hyndman (the leader of 
the S.D.F. which had joined with the Possibilists) attacked 
"authoritarian Marxism" and wanted to form the "nucleus 
of a new International". 

"You can have no idea of the naivete of the Germans. 
It has cost me tremendous effort to explain even to Bebel 
what it all really meant" (June 8, 1889). 141 And when the 
two congresses met, when the revolutionary Social-Demo- 



crats outnumbered the Possibilists (who had united with the 
trade-unionists, the S.D.F., a section of the Austrians, etc.), 
Engels was jubilant (July 17, 18 8 9). 142 He was glad that 
the conciliatory plans and proposals of Liebknecht and 
others had failed (July 20, 1889). "It serves our sentimental 
conciliatory brethren right that, for all their amicableness, 
they received a good kick in their tenderest spot. This may 
cure them for some time." 143 

...Mehring was right when he said (Der Sorgesche Brief- 
wechsel) that Marx and Engels did not have much idea of 
"good manners": "If they did not think long over every 
blow they dealt, neither did they whimper over every 
blow they received." "If they think their needle pricks can 
pierce my old, thick and well-tanned hide, they are 
mistaken," 144 Engels once wrote. And they assumed that 
others possessed the imperviousness they had themselves 
acquired, Mehring said of Marx and Engels. 

1893. The chastisement of the Fabians, which suggests 
itself when passing judgement on the Bernsteinians (for did 
not Bernstein "evolve" his opportunism in England making 
use of the experience of the Fabians?). "The Fabians here 
in London are a band of careerists who have understanding 
enough to realise the inevitability of the social revolution, 
but who could not possibly entrust this gigantic task to 
the raw proletariat alone, and are therefore kind enough 
to set themselves at the head. Fear of the revolution is 
their fundamental principle. They are the 'educated' par 
excellence. Their socialism is municipal socialism; not the 
nation but the community is to become the owner of the 
means of production, at any rate for the time being. This 
socialism of theirs is then presented as an extreme but in- 
evitable consequence of bourgeois liberalism; hence their 
tactics, not of decisively opposing the Liberals as adversaries 
but of pushing them on towards socialist conclusions and 
therefore of intriguing with them, of permeating liberalism 
with socialism — not of putting up socialist candidates against 
the Liberals but of fastening them on to the Liberals, forc- 
ing them upon the Liberals, or swindling them into taking 
them. They do not of course realise that in doing this they 
are either lied to and themselves deceived or else are lying 
about socialism. 



"With great industry they have published, amid all 
sorts of rubbish, some good propagandist writing as well, 
this in fact being the best the English have produced in this 
field. But as soon as they get on to their specific tactics of 
hushing up the class struggle, it all turns putrid. Hence 
their fanatical hatred of Marx and all of us— because of the 
class struggle. 

"These people have of course many bourgeois followers 
and therefore money...." 145 


1894. The Peasant Question. "On the Continent," Engels 
wrote on November 10, 1894, "success is developing the 
appetite for more success, and catching the peasant, in the 
literal sense of the word, is becoming the fashion. First 
the French, in Nantes, declare through Lafargue not only 
... that it is not our business to hasten ... the ruin of the 
small peasants, which capitalism is seeing to for us, but 
they add that we must directly protect the small peasant 
against taxation, usury, and landlords. But we cannot co- 
operate in this, first because it is stupid and second because 
it is impossible. Next, however, Vollmar comes along in 
Frankfort and wants to bribe the peasantry as a whole, though 
the peasant he has to deal with in Upper Bavaria is not the 
debt-ridden small peasant of the Rhineland, but the middle 
and even the big peasant, who exploits male and female 
farmhands, and sells cattle and grain in quantity. And that 
cannot be done without giving up the whole principle." 146 

1894, December 4. "...The Bavarians, who have become 
very, very opportunistic and have almost turned into 
an ordinary people's party (that is to say, the majority of 
leaders and many of those who have recently joined the 
Party), voted in the Bavarian Diet for the budget as a whole; 
and Vollmar in particular has started an agitation among 
the peasants with the object of winning the Upper Bavarian 
big peasants — people who own 25 to 80 acres of land (10 to 
30 hectares) and who therefore cannot manage without wage- 
labourers — instead of winning their farmhands." 147 



We thus see that for more than ten years Marx and Engels 
systematically and unswervingly fought opportunism in 
the German Social-Democratic Party, and attacked intel- 
lectualist philistinism and the petty-bourgeois outlook in 
socialism. This is an extremely important fact. The general 
public know that German Social-Democracy is regarded as 
a model of Marxist proletarian policy and tactics, but they 
do not know what constant warfare the founders of Marxism 
had to wage against the "Right wing" (Engels's expression) 
of that Party. And it is no accident that soon after Engels's 
death this concealed war became an open one. This was an 
inevitable result of the decades of historical development 
of German Social-Democracy. 

And now we very clearly perceive the two lines of Engels's 
(and Marx's) recommendations, directions, corrections, 
threats and exhortations. The most insistent of their appeals 
to the British and American socialists was to merge with 
the working-class movement and eradicate the narrow and 
hidebound sectarian spirit from their organisations. They 
were most insistent in teaching the German Social-Demo- 
crats to beware of succumbing to philistinism, "parliamen- 
tary idiocy" (Marx's expression in the letter of September 
19, 1879), 148 and petty-bourgeois intellectualist oppor- 

Is it not typical that our Social-Democratic gossips should 
have begun cackling about the recommendations of the 
first kind while remaining silent, holding their tongues, 
about the second? Is not such one-sidedness in appraising 
the letters of Marx and Engels the best indication of a cer- 
tain Russian Social-Democratic ... "one-sidedness"? 

At the present moment, when the international work- 
ing-class movement is displaying symptoms of profound 
ferment and vacillation, when the extremes of opportunism, 
"parliamentary idiocy" and philistine reformism have 
evoked the other extremes of revolutionary syndicalism — the 
general line of Marx's and Engels's "corrections" to British 
and American and to German socialism acquires exceptional 

In countries where there are no Social-Democratic workers' 
parties, no Social-Democratic members of parliament, and 
no systematic and steadfast Social-Democratic policy either 



at elections or in the press, etc. — in such countries, Marx 
and Engels taught the socialists to rid themselves at all 
cost of narrow sectarianism, and to join with the working- 
class movement so as to shake up the proletariat politically . 
For in the last thirty years of the nineteenth century the 
proletariat displayed almost no political independence either 
in Britain or America. In these countries — where bourgeois- 
democratic historical tasks were almost entirely non- 
existent — the political arena was completely held by a trium- 
phant and self-satisfied bourgeoisie, unequalled anywhere in 
the world in the art of deceiving, corrupting and bribing the 

To think that these recommendations, made by Marx and 
Engels to the British and American working-class move- 
ments, can be simply and directly applied to Russian con- 
ditions is to use Marxism not in order to achieve clarity on 
its method, not in order to study the concrete historical fea- 
tures of the working-class movement in definite countries, 
but in order to pay off petty, factional, and intellectualist 

On the other hand, in a country where the bourgeois- 
democratic revolution was still unconsummated, where 
"military despotism, embellished with parliamentary forms" 
(Marx's expression in his Critique of the Gotha Pro- 
gramme) 149 prevailed, and still does, where the proletariat 
had long ago been drawn into politics and was pursuing a 
Social-Democratic policy — in such a country what Marx and 
Engels most of all feared was parliamentary vulgarisation 
and philistine derogation of the tasks and scope of the 
working-class movement. 

It is all the more our duty to emphasise and give promi- 
nence to this side of Marxism, in the period of the 
bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia, because in our 
country a vast, "brilliant" and rich liberal-bourgeois 
press is vociferously trumpeting to the proletariat the "ex- 
emplary" loyalty, parliamentary legality, the modesty and 
moderation of the neighbouring German working-class move- 

This mercenary lie of the bourgeois betrayers of the Rus- 
sian revolution is not due to accident or to the personal 
depravity of certain past or future ministers in the Cadet 



camp. It stems from the profound economic interests of the 
Russian liberal landlords and liberal bourgeois. And in 
combating this lie, this "stupefying of the masses" ("Massen- 
verdummung ,, — Engels's expression in his letter of Novem- 
ber 29, 1886), 150 the letters of Marx and Engels should 
serve as an indispensable weapon for all Russian social- 

The mercenary lie of the liberal bourgeois holds up to the 
people the exemplary "modesty" of the German Social- 
Democrats. The leaders of these Social-Democrats, the found- 
ers of the theory of Marxism, tell us: 

"The revolutionary language and action of the French 
have made the hypocrisy of Viereck and Co. [the opportunist 
Social-Democrats in the German Reichstag Social-Demo- 
cratic group] sound quite feeble" (this was said in reference 
to the formation of a labour group in the French Chamber 
and to the Decazeville strike, which split the French Radi- 
cals from the French proletariat 151 ). "Only Liebknecht and 
Bebel spoke in the last Socialist debate and both of them 
spoke well. We can with this debate once more show our- 
selves in decent society, which was by no means the case with 
all of them. In general it is a good thing that the Germans' 
leadership of the international socialist movement, partic- 
ularly after they sent so many philistines to the Reichstag 
(which, it is true, was unavoidable), is being challenged. 
In Germany everything becomes philistine in peaceful times; 
and therefore the sting of French competition is absolutely 
necessary...." (Letter of April 29, 1886.) 152 

These are the lessons to be learnt most thoroughly by 
the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, which is 
predominantly under the ideological influence of German 

These lessons are taught us not by any particular passage 
in the correspondence of the greatest men of the nineteenth 
century but by the whole spirit and substance of their com- 
radely and frank criticism of the international experience of 
the proletariat, a criticism to which diplomacy and petty 
considerations were alien. 

How far all the letters of Marx and Engels were indeed 
imbued with this spirit may also be seen from the following 
relatively specific but extremely typical passages. 153 



In 1889 a young and fresh movement of untrained and 
unskilled labourers (gasworkers, dockers, etc.) arose in 
Britain, a movement marked by a new and revolutionary 
spirit. Engels was delighted with it. He referred exultingly 
to the part played by Tussy, Marx's daughter, who conduct- 
ed agitation among these workers. "... The most repulsive 
thing here," he says, writing from London on December 
7, 1889, "is the bourgeois 'respectability' which has grown 
deep into the bones of the workers. The division of society 
into innumerable strata, each recognised without question, 
each with its own pride but also its inborn respect for its 
'betters' and 'superiors', is so old and firmly established 
that the bourgeois still find it fairly easy to get their bait 
accepted. I am not at all sure, for instance, that John Burns 
is not secretly prouder of his popularity with Cardinal 
Manning, the Lord Mayor, and the bourgeoisie in general 
than of his popularity with his own class. And Champion — 
an ex-lieutenant — intrigued years ago with bourgeois and 
especially with conservative elements, preached socialism 
at the parsons' Church Congress, etc. And even Tom Mann, 
whom I regard as the best of the lot, is fond of mentioning 
that he will be lunching with the Lord Mayor. If one com- 
pares this with the French, one realises what a revolution 
is good for after all." 154 

No comment is needed. 

Another example. In 1891 there was danger of a Euro- 
pean war. Engels corresponded on the subject with Bebel, 
and they agreed that in the event of Russia attacking Ger- 
many, the German socialists must desperately fight the 
Russians and any allies of the Russians. "If Germany is 
crushed, then we shall be too, while at best the struggle 
will be such a violent one that Germany will only be able 
to maintain herself by revolutionary means, so that very 
possibly we shall be forced to take the helm and stage a 
1793." (Letter of October 24, 1891.) 155 

Let this be noted by those opportunists who shouted from 
the house-tops that "Jacobin" prospects for the Russian 
workers' party in 1905 were un-Social-Democratic! Engels 
squarely suggested to Bebel the possibility of the Social- 
Democrats having to participate in a provisional govern- 



Holding such views on the tasks of Social-Democratic 
workers' parties, Marx and Engels naturally possessed the 
most fervent faith in a Russian revolution and its great 
world significance. We see this ardent expectation of a 
revolution in Russia, in this correspondence, over a period 
of nearly twenty years. 

Take Marx's letter of September 27, 1877. He is quite 
enthusiastic about the Eastern crisis 156 : "Russia has long 
been standing on the threshold of an upheaval, all the ele- 
ments of it are prepared.... The gallant Turks have hastened 
the explosion by years with the thrashing they have in- 
flicted.... The upheaval will begin secundum artem [accord- 
ing to the rules of the art] with some playing at constitu- 
tionalism, et puis il y aura un beau tapage [and then there will 
be a fine row]. If Mother Nature is not particularly unfa- 
vourable towards us, we shall yet live to see the fun!" 157 
(Marx was then fifty-nine years old). 

Mother Nature did not — and could not very well — permit 
Marx to live "to see the fun". But he foretold the "playing 
at constitutionalism", and it is as though his words were 
written yesterday in relation to the First and Second Russian 
Dumas. And we know that the warning to the people against 
"playing at constitutionalism" was the "living soul" of the 
boycott tactics so detested by the liberals and opportun- 

Or take Marx's letter of November 5, 1880. He was de- 
lighted with the success of Capital in Russia, and took the 
part of the members of the Narodnaya Volya organisation 
against the newly-arisen General Redistribution group. 158 
Marx correctly perceived the anarchistic elements in their 
views. Not knowing and having then no opportunity of 
knowing the future evolution of the General-Redistribution 
Narodniks into Social-Democrats, Marx attacked them with 
all his trenchant sarcasm: 

"These gentlemen are against all political-revolutionary action. 
Russia is to make a somersault into the anarchist-communist-atheist 
millennium! Meanwhile, they are preparing for this leap with the 
most tedious doctrinairism whose so-called principes courent la rue 
depuis le feu Bakounine." 159 

We can gather from this how Marx would have appreciated 
the significance for Russia of 1905 and the succeeding 



years of Social-Democracy's "political-revolutionary 

There is a letter by Engels dated April 6, 1887: "On the 
other hand, it seems as if a crisis is impending in Russia. 
The recent attentates rather upset the apple-cart...." A 
letter of April 9, 1887, says the same thing.... "The army 
is full of discontented, conspiring officers. [Engels at that 
time was impressed by the revolutionary struggle of the 
Narodnaya Volya organisation; he set his hopes on the of- 
ficers, and did not yet see the revolutionary spirit of the 
Russian soldiers and sailors, which was manifested so 
magnificently eighteen years later....] I do not think 
things will last another year; and once it [the revolution] 
breaks out [losgeht] in Russia, then hurrah! 161 

A letter of April 23, 1887: "In Germany there is perse- 
cution after persecution [of socialists]. It looks as if Bis- 
marck wants to have everything ready, so that the moment 
the revolution breaks out [losgeschlagen werden] in Russia, 
which is now only a question of months, Germany could im- 
mediately follow her example." 162 

The months proved to be very, very long ones. No doubt, 
philistines will be found who, knitting their brows and 
wrinkling their foreheads, will sternly condemn Engels's 
"revolutionism", or will indulgently laugh at the old Utopias 
of the old revolutionary exile. 

Yes, Marx and Engels made many and frequent mistakes 
in determining the proximity of revolution, in their hopes 
in the victory of revolution (e.g., in 1848 in Germany), in 
their faith in the imminence of a German "republic" ("to 
die for the republic", wrote Engels of that period, recalling 
his sentiments as a participant in the military campaign 
for a Reich constitution in 1848-49 163 ). They were mistaken 
in 1871 when they were engaged in "raising revolt in Southern 
France, for which they [Becker writes "we", referring to 
himself and his closest friends: letter No. 14 of July 21, 

* Incidentally, if my memory does not deceive me, Plekhanov 
or V. I. Zasulich told me in 1900-03 about the existence of a letter 
from Engels to Plekhanov concerning Our Differences and the character 
of the impending revolution in Russia. It would be interesting to 
know exactly whether there was such a letter, whether it still exists, 
and whether the time has come to publish it. 160 



1871] sacrificed and risked all that was humanly possible...". 
The same letter says: "If we had had more means in March 
and April we would have roused the whole of Southern 
France and would have saved the Commune in Paris" 
(p. 29). But such errors — the errors of the giants of revolu- 
tionary thought, who sought to raise, and did raise, the 
proletariat of the whole world above the level of petty, com- 
monplace and trivial tasks — are a thousand times more 
noble and magnificent and historically more valuable and 
true than the trite wisdom of official liberalism, which lauds 
shouts, appeals and holds forth about the vanity of revo- 
lutionary vanities, the futility of the revolutionary struggle 
and the charms of counter-revolutionary "constitutional" 

The Russian working class will win their freedom and 
give an impetus to Europe by their revolutionary ac- 
tion, full though it be of errors — and let the philistines 
pride themselves on the infallibility of their revolutionary 

April, 6, 1907 



St. Petersburg, April 10. 

The mood of what is known as Russian "society" is one 
of depression, dismay and perplexity. The article by F. 
Malover 164 who made an extremely apt choice of a pseudo- 
nym — in the Sunday issue of Tovarishch (April 8) is an instruc- 
tive and typical manifestion because it correctly reflects 
that mood. 

Mr. Malover's article is called "The Duma and Society". 
By society is here understood, in accordance with the old 
Russian use of the word, a handful of liberal government 
officials, bourgeois intellectuals, bored rentiers and similar 
haughty, self-satisfied, and idle members of the public, who 
fancy themselves the salt of the earth, proudly call them- 
selves the "intelligentsia", create "public opinion", etc., etc. 

It seems to Mr. Malover that "the campaign against the 
Duma, to be observed during the past few days in the columns 
of the Left press, is extremely risky". That is the main idea 
behind the article. Mr. Malover's argument is a reference to 
the mood of society. Society is fatigued, "waves aside" 
politics, does not protest against abuses, and reads "light" 
novels in the libraries or buys them in the shops. "The 
environment is flaccid" ... "for the Duma to revive, the 
country must revive." "The Duma could, of course, at any 
moment die an heroic death, but, judging by rumours in 
circulation, this would only be to the advantage of its in- 
voluntary godmothers. And what would the people gain 
from that, other than a new election law?" 

We have quoted these passages because they are typical 
of most Russian liberals and all the intellectual backrooms 
of liberalism. 



Note that in the final sentence the word "people" has 
slipped in in place of "society"! Mr. Malover, sly even to- 
wards himself (as are all intellectualists of little faith), 
has falsified his own argument and has tried to make it 
appear that it is the notorious "society" that really determines 
the "support from without" or the attitude of the masses. 
Despite the skilfulness of the counterfeit, it has not passed: 
and he has had to substitute "the people" for "society". And 
all the dust that the members of "society" have accumulated 
in stuffy and fusty chambers so carefully screened off and 
protected from the street, flies up in a cloud immediately 
the door leading to the "street" is opened. The-dry-as-dust 
sophistry that they fancy is "intellectual" and "well-edu- 
cated" is laid bare for all to see. 

Thesis: the campaign of the Lefts against the Duma is 

Proof: society is fatigued and waves politics aside, prefer- 
ring light novels. 

Conclusion: the people would gain nothing from the he- 
roic death of the Duma. 

Political slogan: "nobody now has any doubts, it would 
seem, that the political struggle of the immediate future 
can only be for the consolidation and extension of the rights 
of the Duma as the one [!] weapon still in the hands of the 
people [!], with which to struggle against the government". 

The logic of counter-revolutionary hypocrites cloaked 
in the noble mantle of scepticism and satiated indifference 
is truly incomparable, is it not? 

Thesis: we, "society", are sitting in the mud. You, the 
Lefts, want to try and clean up the mud. Leave it alone, the 
mud does not bother us. 

Proof: we are weary of attempts (not made by us) to clean 
up the mud. Our ideas about cleaning up are indecisive. 

Conclusion: it is risky to touch the mud. 

The arguments of the Malovers are of great significance 
for, we repeat, they truly reflect the mood that, in the final 
analysis, springs from the struggle of the classes in the 
Russian revolution. The fatigue of the bourgeoisie and its 
yearning for "light" literature constitute a phenomenon 
that is not accidental, but inevitable. The grouping of the 
population by parties — that was the most important lesson 



and the revolution's most important political acquisition 
at the time of the elections to the Second Duma — tellingly 
revealed, on a nation-wide scale; the turn to the Right taken 
by broad sections of the landlords and bourgeoisie. "Society" 
and "the intelligentsia" are simply a miserable, pitiful, 
basely cowardly appendage to the upper ten thousand. 

The greater part of the bourgeois intelligentsia live with, 
and are fed by, those who have drawn away from politics. 
Only a few intellectuals enter the propaganda circles of the 
workers' party, those who from experience know the "rave- 
nous hunger" of the masses of the people for political books, 
newspapers and socialist knowledge. But of course such 
intellectuals, even if they do not go to an heroic death, lead 
the really heroic life of hard work of the poorly-paid, half- 
starved, constantly fatigued "rank-and-file Party worker" who 
is overworked beyond all belief. Such intellectuals find 
reward in getting away from the dung-heap of "society" 
and in not having to think of the indifference of their audience 
to social and political problems. And, indeed, an "intellec- 
tual" who cannot find himself an audience that is not in- 
different to those problems as much resembles a "democrat" 
or an intellectual in the best sense of the word, as a woman 
who sells herself by marrying for money resembles a loving 
wife. Both are variations of officially respectable and per- 
fectly legal prostitution. 

The Left parties are really Left, and deserve that name, 
only insofar as they express the interests and reflect the 
psychology, not of "society", not of a bunch of whining 
intellectualist trash, but the lower strata of the people, the 
proletariat and a certain section of the petty bourgeois 
masses, both urban and rural. The Left parties are those 
whose audiences are never indifferent to social and political 
problems any more than a hungry man can be indifferent to 
the problem of a crust of bread. "The campaign against the 
Duma" of those Left parties is a reflection of a definite ten- 
dency among the lower strata of the people, it is an echo 
of a certain — what shall we call it? — mass irritation with 
the self-satisfied Narcissuses who are infatuated with the 
dung-heaps about them. 

One such Narcissus — Mr. Malover — writes: "The psy- 
chology of the masses of the people, in the period we are 



living in is an absolutely unknown quantity, and nobody 
can be sure that these masses will react to the dissolution 
of the Second Duma differently from the way they reacted 
to the dissolution of the First Duma." 

In what way does this differ from the psychology of an 
honest woman in bourgeois society who says: "Nobody 
can say for sure that it is not for love I am marrying the one 
who pays me most"? 

And your own feelings, madame, will they not serve to 
make anybody sure of it? And you, Malover & Co., do you 
not feel yourselves to be particles of the "masses of the 
people"? Do you not feel yourselves participants (and not 
mere onlookers)? Are you not conscious of being makers 
of the general mood, of being those who make for progress? 

The bourgeoisie "cannot say for sure" that the proletariat 
will go forward from defeat to victory. The proletariat is 
sure that the bourgeoisie will distinguish itself by identical 
baseness both in the defeats and in the victories of the people 
in the struggle for freedom. 

Let Social-Democrats who are given to vacillation and 
doubt learn from the examples of the Malovers, learn to 
understand the reactionary nature today, not only of talk 
about the "one-sided hostile" stand taken by the Social-Demo- 
crats towards the liberals, but also of talk about a "nation- 
wide" revolution (headed by the Malovers!?). 

Nashe Ekho, No. 14, 
April 10, 1907 

Published according 
to the text in Nashe Ekho 



In a recent issue of Die Neue Zeit* journal of the German 
Social-Democrats, there appeared a leading article bearing 
the usual mark of its usual leader writer, Franz Mehring. 
The author notes that in the usual discussion on the budget 
the Social-Democratic speakers, Singer and David, took 
advantage of the opportunity to prove how steadfastly 
Social-Democracy, supposedly defeated at the last elections, 
is defending its proletarian position. The German liberals, 
on the contrary, those who at the last elections had joined 
forces with the government against the clerical Centre and 
against the Social-Democrats, found themselves in the 
pitiful position of humiliated allies of reaction. "The liberal 
bourgeoisie," says Mehring, "are playing the role of an obe- 
dient slave [the German Dime actually means "prostitute"] 
of the Ost-Elbe Junkers, for the sake of pitiful doles given 
by the latter." 

We quote these sharply-spoken words verbatim, to give 
our readers a clear picture of the difference in tone and 
content between the Social-Democratic presentation of the 
question of the liberals in Germany and the presentation 
that is frequently to be met with in the Russian Cadet news- 
papers. It will be remembered that those papers sang a quite 
different tune in respect of the outcome of the German 
elections, spoke of the mistakes of the Social-Democrats 
who, it was said, had ignored bourgeois democracy and 
adopted "a one-sided hostile position" towards it, etc. 

*No. 23 (25. Jahrg., Bd. 1) (New Times, No. 23. 25th year, 
Vol. 1.— Ed.), March 6, 1907. 



All this is en passant. What we are interested in here is 
not Mehring's assessment of German liberalism, but his 
assessment of the Russian Duma and Russian liberalism, 
whose slogans ("Save the Duma", conduct "positive work") 
he analyses with wonderful clarity and aptness. 

Here is a complete translation of the second part of the 


"...To understand the immeasurable insignificance of 
those debates* it is worth while glancing back some sixty 
years to the United Landtag in Berlin, when the bour- 
geoisie first girded their loins for the parliamentary struggle. 
Even in those days the bourgeoisie did not cut a heroic 
figure. Karl Marx pictured it thus: '...without faith in itself, 
without faith in the people, grumbling at those above, 
trembling before those below, egoistic towards both sides 
and conscious of its egoism, revolutionary in relation to the 
conservatives and conservative in relation to the revolu- 
tionists, distrustful of its own mottoes, phrases instead of 
ideas, intimidated by the world storm, exploiting the world 
storm; no energy in any respect, plagiarism in every respect; 
common because it lacked originality, original in its com- 
monness; dickering with its own desires, without initiative, 
without faith in itself, without faith in the people, without 
a world-historical calling; an execrable old man, who saw 
himself doomed to guide and deflect the first youthful im- 
pulses of a robust people in his own senile interests — sans 
eyes, sans ears, sans teeth, sans everything.' 165 

"Despite all that, however, the bourgeoisie of that day 
was able to keep the purse under its thumb and withhold 
the incomes of the King and the Junkers until its own 
rights were ensured; it preferred to be subjected to the dis- 
favour of the King rather than surrender its birthright to 
help the royal bankrupt. 

"Compared with the present-day free-thinkers, the liber- 
als of the United Landtag were much more far-sighted. 
They laughed at the chatter about 'positive work' and pre- 

The budget debates in the Reichstag. 



ferred to hold up a matter so important to the welfare of 
the country as the building of the eastern railway rather 
than renounce their constitutional rights. 

"There is all the greater reason for recalling those times, 
since the end of the budget debate in the Reichstag coincided 
with the opening of the Second Russian Duma. There is no 
doubt that the parliamentary history of the Russian revo- 
lution has so far more closely resembled that of the Prussian 
revolution of 1848 than that of the French revolution of 
1789; the history of the First Duma in many respects strik- 
ingly resembles that of the notorious 'assembly of conci- 
liators' that at one time held its sessions in a Berlin theatre, 
resembles it even in respect of the ineffective appeal not to 
pay taxes, issued by the Constitutional-Democratic majority 
after the dissolution, an appeal that disappeared into thin 
air. And in Prussia, too, the new Landtag convened by the 
government bore a more marked oppositional tinge, like 
the present Russian Duma, and was then dispersed a month 
later by armed force. There is no lack of voices prophesying 
a similar fate for the new Russian Duma. The over-wise 
liberals come out with the excellent advice: save the Duma, 
and win the confidence of the people by 'positive work'. As 
understood by those who give it this is about the most fool- 
ish advice that could have been offered the new Duma. 

"History does not approve of repetition and the new 
Duma is a product of a revolution that differs greatly from 
the second Prussian Parliament. It was elected under such 
pressure that, by comparison, the infamy and baseness 
of the 'imperial falsehood league' could well be called mild. 
The Left is no longer dominated by the Constitutional-Demo- 
crats in the present Duma, but has been strengthened by 
a powerful socialist group. Nor is it easy to dissolve the 
Duma now. Tsarism would not have engaged in that process 
of exerting pressure at the elections, as wearisome as it was 
disgusting, if the question of the dissolution of the Duma 
had depended entirely on the tsarist government. For its 
creditors, tsarism needs a popular representation that can 
save it from bankruptcy, and it would, furthermore, have 
been impossible, even if things had not been so bad, to 
elaborate a more pitiful electoral system and exercise still 
more brutal pressure at the elections. 



"In that respect Prussian reaction held another big trump 
card in 1849; by annulling universal suffrage and intro- 
ducing the three-class system of elections, it obtained the 
so-called popular representation that did not offer any effec- 
tive resistance and was nevertheless something in the na- 
ture of a guarantee to the creditors. 

"The Russian revolution has shown, through the elections 
to the new Duma, that it has much wider and deeper scope 
than the German revolution then had. It is also quite cer- 
tain that the revolution has not elected the new Duma by 
chance, but has every intention of making use of it. But the 
revolution would be betraying itself if it were to listen to 
the wise counsels of the German liberals, and tried to obtain 
the confidence of the people by 'positive work' as those lib- 
erals understood it; if the revolution were to act in that 
way it would be taking the same road of lamentation and 
disgrace that German liberalism has been following for the 
past sixty years. That which this amazing hero regards as 
'positive work' would only lead to the new Duma helping 
tsarism extricate itself from the clutch of its financial 
troubles, and would receive in return a pitiful dole in the shape 
of such 'reforms' as the ministry of a Stolypin can hatch. 

"We shall make clear the concept of 'positive work' by 
an historical example. When the National Assembly effected 
the emancipation of the French peasantry in a single summer 
night in 1789, the mercenary genius and adventurer Mira- 
beau, constitutional democracy's most celebrated hero, 
baptised the event with the catchword 'disgusting orgy', 
but in our opinion it was 'positive work'. The emancipation 
of the Prussian peasants, on the contrary, which dragged 
along at a snail's pace for sixty years — from 1807 to 1865 — 
during which an infinite number of peasant lives were bru- 
tally and ruthlessly sacrificed, was what our liberals call 
'positive work' and proclaim from the house-tops. In our 
opinion, that was a 'disgusting orgy'. 

"And so, if the new Duma wants to fulfil its historic task 
it must undoubtedly engage in 'positive work'. On this 
issue there is a gratifying unanimity. The only question is: 
what sort of 'positive work' is it to be? For our part, we 
hope that the Duma will prove to be a weapon of the Russia 
revolution that gave it birth." 



* * 

This article of Mehring's, whether we like it or not, gives 
rise to some thinking about the present trends in Russian 

In the first place, we cannot help noting that the author 
compares the Russian revolution of 1905 and the following 
years, to the German revolution of 1848-49, and the First 
Duma, to the famous "assembly of conciliators". This last 
expression comes from Marx. That is what he called the 
German liberals of that day in the Neue Rheinische Zei- 
tung. 166 This appellation has gone down in history as a 
model of proletarian thinking in its assessment of a bour- 
geois revolution. 

Marx gave the name of "conciliators" to the German 
liberals of the revolutionary epoch, because bourgeois- 
liberal political tactics were at that time based on the 
"theory of conciliation", the conciliation of the Crown with 
the people, of the old authorities with the forces of the rev- 
olution. These tactics expressed the class interests of the 
German bourgeoisie in the German bourgeois revolution; 
the bourgeoisie were afraid to carry on the revolution to its 
consummation; they feared the independence of the prole- 
tariat, feared the full victory of the peasantry over their 
medieval exploiters, the landlords, whose farming still 
retained many feudal features. The class interests of the 
bourgeoisie forced them to come to terms with reaction 
("conciliation") against the revolution, and the liberal in- 
tellectuals who founded the "theory of conciliation" used it 
to cover up their apostasy from the revolution. 

The excellent passage quoted by Mehring shows how 
Marx lashed out at bourgeois conciliation in a revolutionary 
epoch. Anybody who is familiar with Mehring's edition of 
the writings of Marx and Engels in the forties, especially 
the articles from the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, knows, of 
course, that very many similar passages could be quoted. 

Let those who, like Plekhanov, attempt by reference to 
Marx to justify the tactics of the Right wing of the Social- 
Democrats in the Russian bourgeois revolution give this 
some thought! The arguments of such people are based on 
ill-chosen quotations; they take generalisations on support 



for the big bourgeoisie against the reactionary petty bour- 
geoisie and apply them uncritically to the Russian Cadets 
and the Russian revolution. 

Mehring provides such people with a good lesson anybody 
who wants Marx's advice on the tasks of the proletariat in 
the bourgeois revolution should take precisely his statements 
concerning the epoch of the German bourgeois revolution. 
It is not for nothing that our Mensheviks so timidly avoid 
those statements. In them we see the most complete and 
most clear expression of that ruthless struggle against the 
bourgeois conciliators that our Russian Bolsheviks are con- 
ducting in the Russian revolution. 

At the time of the German bourgeois revolution Marx 
considered the basic tasks of the proletariat to be — carrying 
on the revolution to its consummation, the winning of the 
leading role by the proletariat, the exposure of the bourgeois 
conciliators' treachery and the capture of the masses of 
the people, especially the peasantry,* from the influence 
of the bourgeoisie. This is an historic fact that can be ignored 
or evaded only by those who take Marx's name in vain. 

Mehring's assessment of "positive work" and "disgusting 
orgy" has an intimate, inseverable connection with this. 

This parallel of his is such a well-aimed thrust at the 
Russian liberals, the Cadets, who are now engaged in the 
Second Duma in approving the budget of the military- 
court-backed autocracy, that Mehring's words would only 
be weakened if anything of substance were added to them. 

We counterpose Mehring's presentation of the question 
to that of the Right wing of the German Social-Democrats. 
Readers will, of course, know that Mehring and the entire 
editorial board of Die Neue Zeit are on the side of revolu- 
tionary Social-Democracy. The opposite or opportunist 
stand is held by the Bernsteinians. Their chief press organ 
is Sozialistische Monatshefte. In the last issue of that journal 
(April 1907) there is an article by Mr. Roman Streltzow 
entitled "The Second Russian Parliament". The article is 
overflowing with wrathful mouthings against the Bolsheviks, 
whom the author, apparently for greater venom, calls 

* "The German bourgeoisie will betray their natural allies, the 
peasantry ," said Marx in 1848, in assessing the role of the peasantry 
in the bourgeois revolution. 167 



"Leninians". How conscientious this Streltzow is in keeping 
the German public informed, can be seen from the fact that 
he quotes the sharpest passages from Lenin's pamphlets 
written at the time of the St. Petersburg elections, but 
keeps silence about the treacherous split arranged by the 
Mensheviks, the split which caused the struggle. 

But all this is en passant. What is important to us is the 
way the question is presented in principle by the Bernstein- 
ian. The Mensheviks, especially Plekhanov, come in for 
praise as the realist wing of Russian Social-Democracy. 
Vorwarts, central organ of German Social-Democracy, has 
been reprimanded by the "realist" for a sentence to the effect 
that the people have not sent advocates (Fursprecher) but 
leading fighters (Vorkdmpfer) to the Second Duma — "Vor- 
warts apparently has the same rosy view of the present 
situation in Russia as the Leninians" (p. 295 of the above- 
mentioned issue).* The author's conclusion is clear and def- 
inite. "Therefore," he writes, in concluding his article 
"saving the Duma [Erhaltung der Duma] is so far the pur- 
pose of the opposition taken as a whole." Further — the 
socialists must not "waste their forces in a completely useless 
struggle against the Cadets" (p. 296, ibid.) 

We will leave it to our readers to make the comparison 
between Mehring's way of thinking about the "disgusting 
orgy" and the Streltzows' way of thinking about the "Save 
the Duma" slogan. 

Such a comparison is well capable of replacing commen- 
taries on the Bolshevik and Menshevik policies in the pres- 
ent Duma — commentaries on the Bolshevik and Menshevik 
draft resolutions on the attitude to the State Duma. 

Written in April 1907 

Published in 1907 
in the collection 
Questions of Tactics, Second Issue 
Signed: K. T. 

Published according 
to the text in the collection 

* Incidentally, it may be worth while adding that we are, in 
any case, profoundly and heartily grateful to Mr. Streltzow for his 
effort to denigrate the Bolsheviks in the eyes of German Social-De- 
mocracy. Mr. Streltzow does this so well that we could not wish for 
a better ally for the propagation of Bolshevism among German So- 
cial-Democrats. Keep it up, Mr. Streltzow! 



The first issue of the Menshevik newspaper Narodnaya 
Gazeta (April 10) contained an article by Comrade G. Khrus- 
talev on the labour congress; it was an aggressive, extremely 
interesting, and excellent article (from the Bolshevik point 
of view). We say it was excellent because in his writings the 
Menshevik Khrustalev is as helpful — if not more helpful — 
to us as the Menshevik Larin. We are equally grateful to 
both of them, and shall therefore analyse their ideas by com- 
paring them with each other. 

You will recall what Y. Larin was advocating in his 
pamphlet A Broad Labour Party and a Labour Congress. 
A broad labour party, as conceived by Larin, should em- 
brace something like 900,000 of the 9,000,000-strong Russian 
proletariat. The "signboard" has to come down — the party 
must not be Social-Democratic. The Social-Democrats and 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries must merge. The new party 
must be, in point of fact, a "non-partisan party" (Larin's own 
words). The Social-Democrats and Socialist-Revolution- 
aries must play the role of "propaganda bodies within a broad 

Larin's plan, as anybody-can see, is perfectly clear-cut, 
and his idea for a labour congress is distinguished by the 
absence of anything left unsaid or of the vagueness that 
Axelrod's plan abounds in. For this clarity of thought we 
Bolsheviks have given praise to the guileless Comrade 
Larin, and compared it to the vagueness of "hidebound 
Menshevism" (Larin's words). At the same time we say 
that Larin's plan is an opportunist adventure, because 
merging with the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and a "non- 
partisan party" cannot lead to anything but confusion in the 



minds of the workers and difficulties for the Social-Demo- 
cratic organisation. 

Now let the reader weigh Comrade Khrustalev's plan 
attentively. He says straight out: "The party should not 
itself undertake the work of calling the congress." "Ini- 
tiative in convening it should come from the trade unions 
and special committees formed to convene the congress." 

How should these committees be formed? 

Comrade Khrustalev does not give a direct answer to 
this question. The following passage, however, contains 
an answer that is clear enough, even if indirect. 

"What composition of the congress is anticipated? Will any qual- 
ifications be established?" he asks, and gives this answer. "Since 
we are trying to broaden the organisation, we are by that token 
against any restrictions. At the congress there will be a place for every 
elected representative of the workers. Trade unions, consumers' 
associations, workers' funds, workers' mutual benefit societies, fac- 
tory committees, committees set up specifically for the organisation 
of the congress, deputies elected from factories where there are no 
factory committees — all these should be represented at the all-Rus- 
sian labour congress. Such will be its composition." 

That is perfectly clear. "Against any restrictions" — let 
anybody come who is in any way elected by workers. The 
author does not tell us where to draw a line between "workers" 
and all sorts of office employees (commercial, postal, tele- 
graph, railway, etc., employees), and peasants belonging to 
our Social-Democratic organisations and to "consumers' 
societies". From his point of view, this is, probably, a 
mere technical detail; "against any restrictions"! so why 
restrict the petty-bourgeois element? 

But let us continue. Comrade Khrustalev has given us 
a clear definition of the composition of the congress. He 
has also made himself clear on the purposes of the congress. 
"In all cases," he writes, "the labour congress committees 
and the local Social-Democratic organisations will exist 
side by side." 

"...The first organisational unit is the factory committee. In their 
activities, the factory committees, elective and accountable to their 
electors, embrace broad strata of the proletariat through their partic- 
ipation in all aspects of factory life, from the settlement of con- 
flicts between labour and capital, the planned leadership of econom- 
ic strikes, finding work, etc., up to and including the organisation 
of funds, clubs, lectures, and libraries. 



"The factory committees of one town or one industrial centre 
constitute the labour congress committee. Its purpose includes the 
leadership, extension and deepening of the trade union and co-oper- 
ative movement, the organisation of aid for the unemployed, bring- 
ing pressure to bear on the municipal authorities to organise pub- 
lic works, agitation against rising food prices, relations with the 
Duma commission on aid for the unemployed, discussion, on the spot, 
of all parliamentary bills affecting the interests of the working class 
[author's italics]; in the event of a reform of local self-government — 
the conduct of an election campaign, etc. 

"The labour congress is only the guiding and directing body of 
the whole movement. Such is approximately the general plan. Events 
will, of course, lead to the introduction of amendments." 

That is perfectly clear. Non-party factory committees. 
Non-party labour congress committees. A non-party labour 
congress. "Through these committees and with them as a 
medium, says Comrade Khrustalev, "the party will obtain 
a powerful means of influencing the entire working class." 

In what way does this differ from Larin's plan, may we 
ask? It is exactly the same plan expressed in slightly dif- 
ferent words. In practice it is exactly the same reduction of 
Social-Democracy to "a propaganda body within a broad 
party", because Comrade Khrustalev's "plan" has, in point of 
fact, left no other role to Social-Democracy. In exactly the 
same way as Larin, he leaves the political activity of the 
working class to a "non-partisan labour party", since "the 
discussion of all bills", "the conduct of an election campaign, 
etc.", all come under the heading of political activity of the 
working class. 

Larin is only more truthful and frank than Khrustalev, 
but actually they both propose and pursue the aim of 
"destroying the Social-Democratic Labour Party and setting 
up in its place a non-party political organisation of the pro- 
letariat". This is precisely what is said in the first point of 
that Bolshevik resolution on non-party labour organisations 
that aroused Comrade Khrustalev's ire and led him to call 
us prosecuting counsel, etc. 

Comrade Khrustalev is also angry because he feels it 
necessary to evade the question bluntly presented in our 
resolution: who should lead the struggle of the proletariat, 
the Social-Democratic party or a "non-party political organ- 
isation of the proletariat"? Who should be the "guiding and 
directing body" in bringing pressure to bear on the munic- 



ipal authorities, in relations with the Duma commission 
(Comrade Khrustalev said nothing about the Social-Demo- 
cratic group in the Duma\ Was that accidental or was it a 
"providential slip of the tongue" on the part of a man who 
has a vague feeling that the non-party "labour congress 
committees" would enter into relations with the Social- 
Democrats, Socialist-Revolutionaries and Trudoviks in- 
discriminately?), in discussing bills, in conducting an elec- 
tion campaign, etc.? 

There was nothing left for Comrade Khrustalev to do but 
display his anger when this question was put to him, since 
it would have been awkward for him to admit that the pro- 
letariat's political activities should be guided by non- 
party "committees". "Who of the Social-Democrats," he 
asks wrathfully, "has conducted, or is now conducting, agi- 
tation for the convening of an anti-party congress? The 
opponents will be unable to give a single name." Do not 
get so angry, Comrade Khrustalev, we have indicated a 
number of names in the first point of our resolution and we 
could now add to them the name of Comrade G. Khrustalev. 
Actually Comrade Khrustalev, like Larin, is agitating for 
a broad Trudovik party.* We say a Trudovik party, not 
a workers' party, because (1) neither Larin nor Khrustalev 
excludes Trudovik, i.e., petty-bourgeois, democracy from 
the composition of non-party political organisation (dele- 
gates to the labour congress, for example, from "consumers' 
associations"; or the motto "against all restrictions") and 
(2) the non-partisanship of a workers' political organisation 
would inevitably mean the merging of the Social-Democratic 
and Trudovik points of view. 

Comrade Khrustalev writes: "The organisations built 
up by Zubatov and Gapon 169 rapidly got rid of their police 
flavour and conducted a purely class policy." They got rid 
of that because of the politically conscious participation 
of the organised Social-Democratic party that would 
never agree to handing over the political leadership of 
proletarians to non-party organisations. It would seem that 

* This expression is used by Comrade C. Lindov who gave rea- 
sons for and proved its accuracy in his article "Labour Congress", 
published in the collection Questions of Tactics. 



Comrade Khrustalev draws a distinction between "purely 
class" politics and Social-Democratic politics. We should 
very much like him to explain this idea candidly. 

"There will be a labour congress," Comrade Khrustalev 
enjoins us, "and the Social-Democrats will participate in 
it." Of course we shall, if there is a congress. We participated 
in the Zubatov and Gapon workers' movements in order 
to fight for Social-Democracy. We shall participate in the 
Trudovik labour congress in order to fight for Social-Democ- 
racy against the Trudoviks and Trudovik non-party ideas. 
This argument is not to the advantage of the old Gapon trend, 
or of the new non-party spirit. 

Comrade Khrustalev appeals to "Bolshevik workers", and 
in so doing tries to set them at loggerheads with the Bol- 
sheviks, who have been agitating against the Soviet of 
Workers' Deputies. We do not intend to make any answer to 
that sally. We refer to Trotsky, who is "non-group". Let 
Comrade Khrustalev read his book In Defence of the Party; 
let him open it at the article entitled, §2, "Mr. Prokopo- 
vich's Malignant Impartiality", page 82. When Comrade 
Khrustalev has read that article he will be ashamed of 
having hidden factional sallies behind a non-factional la- 
bour congress. 

In two words we shall show politically conscious workers 
that the leading role of non-party committees in the politics 
of the proletariat (the election campaign, etc.) is a purely 
intellectualist whimsicality that would lead to excessive 
squabbling and bickering and, after the squabbling and 
bickering, back to Social-Democracy". 

In conclusion let us again thank Comrade Khrustalev for 
the clarity and completeness of his propaganda for the 
labour congress. Larin and Khrustalev are the Bolsheviks' 
best allies against Axelrod. 

Trud, No. 1, 
April 15, 1907 

Published according 
to the Trud text 



Readers will already have learned from the legal daily 
press that the reorganisation of the St. Petersburg organi- 
sation of the R.S.D.L.P., so long since contemplated by 
the majority of local Party members, has now been complet- 
ed. A specially elected conference of all members of the 
local organisation gathered on March 25, 1907, 170 discussed 
the St. Petersburg Committee's reorganisation plan (pub- 
lished in Proletary, No. 15) and the Mensheviks' counter-plan 
(published in Russkaya Zhizn, No. 51), and adopted the St. 
Petersburg Committee's plan with some insignificant amend- 

In essence these organisational rules boil down to ad- 
herence to consistent democratic centralism. The highest 
body in the organisation is the conference, elected by direct 
ballot by all members of the Party (there are two-stage elec- 
tions only in cases of insuperable difficulties) with a fixed 
rate of representation (the first conference was attended by 
delegates elected at the rate of one per fifty Party members). 
The conference is a standing institution. It meets not less 
than twice a month and is the supreme body of the organi- 
sation. It is re-elected twice a year. 

The conference elects the St. Petersburg Committee from 
among all Party members, and not only from those working 
in some particular district of the local organisation. 

This type of organisation eliminates any disproportion 
in the representation of the districts and — this is the main 
thing — instead of the unwieldy, multi-stage, undemocratic 
system of electing the St. Petersburg Committee from repre- 
sentatives of the districts, real unity of all Party members 



is created, since they are united by a single guiding con- 
ference. The composition of the conference makes possible 
and inevitable the participation of the majority of outstand- 
ing workers in the guidance of all the affairs of the entire 
local organisation. 

The conference has already put the new type of organi- 
sation into effect, has declared itself a standing institution, 
elected a new St. Petersburg Committee of nineteen com- 
rades, and held two meetings (or rather, it has gathered twice 
for a meeting) for the solution of all current problems. 

To characterise the Menshevik plan for reorganisation 
that the conference rejected, we shall mention one circum- 
stance, the most important one. That plan also envisaged a 
similar conference at the head of the organisation (calling 
it a council). According to that plan, however, the St. 
Petersburg Committee, the executive body of the conference, 
is eliminated altogether! "The city council," says the Men- 
shevik plan, "is divided into a number of commissions 
(propaganda, agitation, literature, trade union, financial, 
etc.) for the conduct of current business." And "the repre- 
sentation of the organisation in other parties, and relations 
with the central institutions of our Party are entrusted to 
a presidium" of five members elected by the council. 

One may easily imagine how effective an organisation 
would be if its current affairs were conducted by separate 
commissions and not by a single executive body of the con- 
ference! In this case democratic centralism is turned into 
a fiction; in point of fact this is a step towards Larin's 
famous plan to reduce the role of the Social-Democratic 
Party to that of a propaganda body among working-class 
masses united as little as possible in a single organisation. 
It goes without saying that this Menshevik plan was imme- 
diately rejected. It now remains for us to ask its authors to 
acquaint us with the experience gained by Menshevik com- 
mittees or organisations of the R.S.D.L.P. functioning on 
such principles. 

To continue. It is extremely important to note that the new 
conference of the St. Petersburg organisation has put an 
end to the St. Petersburg split. It is known that the Men- 
sheviks brought about the split in St. Petersburg during the 
elections to the Second Duma, by leaving (for allegedly 



formal reasons) the conference held on January 6, 1907, the 
conference that decided the question of the R.S.D.L.P. 
election campaign in St. Petersburg. The elections to the 
new conference that first met on March 25 were conducted 
under the direct control of a special commission appointed 
by the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. specifically 
for that purpose, which included a Central Committee mem- 
ber from the Lettish Social-Democrats. The conference held 
on March 25 (and still functioning, since, as we have said, 
it declared itself a standing institution) is, therefore, the first 
Social-Democratic conference in St. Petersburg for the past 
year, constituted without the slightest dispute on the correct- 
ness of the representation, the legality and number of 
mandates, etc. 

Such a fact has hitherto never been known in St. Peters- 
burg, with its most severe struggle between Bolsheviks 
and Mensheviks. Both the boycott conference (February 
1906) 171 and the conference on the question of supporting 
the demand for a "Duma" ministry (June 1906) 172 gave the 
Bolsheviks the victory, but both had to begin with disputes 
over the correctness of the representation. 

It will, therefore, be highly instructive to make use of 
these undisputed data, undisputed for the first time, on 
the strength of the two sections of Social-Democracy in St. 
Petersburg, to make clear to ourselves the real causes and 
real significance of the split, now over and done with, that 
occurred before the St. Petersburg elections. It will be 
remembered that the Mensheviks justified the split on formal 
grounds — first, incorrect representation at the conference 
on January 6 (the Bolsheviks were accused of exaggerating 
the number of votes, especially those of the shop-assistants, 
and of the unlawful annulment of Menshevik mandates); 
and secondly, the refusal of the conference to accede 
to the Central Committee's demand to divide into an urban 
and a gubernia conference. 

In preceding issues of Proletary it has already been ex- 
plained with sufficient clarity that the second "justification" 
actually boils down to the participation of the Central Com- 
mittee (its Menshevik part) in engineering the St. Petersburg 
split. This will be easily understood by members of our 
Party in other cities as well, for they know full well that 



the Central Committee has nowhere demanded the division 
of city conferences into urban and gubernia, nor could it 
have done so. The Central Committee needed this demand in 
St. Petersburg in the form of an ultimatum in order to 
split the St. Petersburg organisation and help the break- 
away Mensheviks to begin (or continue) negotiations with the 

The first of these "justifications" of the split, however, 
remains quite vague and debatable to all members of our 
Party except those in St. Petersburg. They are not in a 
position to judge the correctness of the representation at the 
January 6 conference, or the actual relation of Bolshevik 
and Menshevik forces in St. Petersburg. It is beyond the 
power of the Social-Democratic press to give documentary 
proofs of this because only a special commission could collect 
and analyse the documents. Thanks, however, to the veri- 
fied and undisputed figures of the representation at the 
March 25 conference, we are able to show all our Party how 
much truth there was in the Menshevik justification of the 
split in St. Petersburg prior to the elections. For this pur- 
pose it is only necessary to compare the figures, by districts, 
of the number of Social-Democrats voting for the Bol- 
sheviks and for the Mensheviks at the elections to the 
January 6 conference and to the March 25 conference. 

The data on the voting at the elections to the March 
25 conference are unquestionable; they have been verified 
by a Central Committee commission and accepted by both 
Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. 

To have indisputable data on the voting at the elections 
to the January 6 conference, we shall take the Menshevik 
figures. When the thirty-one. Mensheviks walked out of the 
conference on January 6, they issued a special statement in 
the form of a pamphlet entitled "Why Were We Compelled 
to Leave the Conference? (Statement by Thirty-One Men- 
sheviks, Submitted to the Central Committee)". We dis- 
cussed this pamphlet in Proletary, No. 12.* We shall now take 
the "figures on the composition of the electors to the Con- 
ference of St. Petersburg Organisation" (the January 6 con- 
ference) printed on pages seven and eight of that pamphlet. 

See pp. 29-32 of this volume.— Ed. 



Here the number of those voting for the Bolsheviks* and 
for the Mensheviks are given for each of the eleven districts, 
all votes, furthermore, being subdivided into undisputed and 
disputed, and the latter into those disputed by the Bol- 
sheviks and those disputed by the Mensheviks. 

There is no need for us to give all the details of these 
subdivisions. In the notes, we shall deal specifically with 
all the amendments introduced by the Mensheviks. For 
purposes of comparison, we shall take the total "number of 
votes" cast for the Bolsheviks and for the Mensheviks, in 
other words, we shall add the undisputed to the disputed 
votes and, by comparing these figures with the number of 
votes cast for the March 25 conference, every Party member 
will be able to see for himself what was incorrect in the elec- 
tions to the January 6 conference, and who was responsible 
for the incorrectness. 

In the pamphlet of the thirty-one Mensheviks there are no 
tabulated figures for the twelfth, shop-assistants', district 
of the St. Petersburg organisation. In the text (page 4) they 
said that the Central Committee had given the 313 organised 
shop-assistants the right to elect five representatives, allow- 
ing not one per fifty members (the usual rate), but one per 
sixty members, in view of the undemocratic nature of the 
elections. On these grounds, the Mensheviks refused to rec- 
ognise the shop-assistants' votes altogether. Since one of 
the five representatives was a Menshevik and four were 
Bolsheviks, we shall assume sixty-three votes for the Men- 
sheviks and two hundred and fifty for the Bolsheviks. 

Next, we shall divide the twelve St. Petersburg districts 
of the Social-Democratic organisation into six undisputed 
and six disputed. The latter include those districts in which 
more than half the votes cast for the Bolsheviks or Menshe- 
viks were disputed by either the Bolsheviks or the Men- 
sheviks at the conference. The districts concerned are: 
Vyborg (of the 256 Menshevik votes, 234 were challenged 
by the Bolsheviks as questionable), City (of the 459 Men- 
shevik votes, 370 disputed by the Bolsheviks), Moscow (of 

* These figures are again subdivided into Bolshevik and dissi- 
dent votes ("platform of the revolutionary bloc")- Both are Bolshe- 
viks, who argued among themselves whether there should be a Left 
bloc or a purely Social-Democratic election list. 



the 248 Menshevik votes, 97 disputed by the Bolsheviks, 
107 by the Mensheviks; 185 Bolshevik votes disputed,* all 
by Mensheviks), Railway (of 21 Bolshevik votes, 5 disputed; 
of 154 Menshevik votes 107 disputed); Estonian (all the 
100 Bolshevik votes disputed by the Mensheviks), and 
shop-assistants (313 votes challenged in their entirety by the 
Mensheviks, who declared that these votes, and these alone, 
had not been cast at all; it was alleged that the leadership 
and not the members of the organisation had voted). 

The undisputed districts were Vasilyevsky Ostrov, Narva, 
Okruzhnoi, Latvian (in these four districts all votes were 
undisputed), Neva (of 150 Bolshevik votes, 15 were disputed; 
of 40 Menshevik votes, 4 were disputed) and Petersburg 
(of 120 votes for the Menshevik, 22 were disputed). 

The data on the number of votes cast in each district 
gives us the following table: 

St. Petersburg Conference of Conference of 

Organisation, January 6 March 25 

R.S.D.L.P. Votes cast for: Votes cast for: 

Districts B-vik M-vik Total B-vik M-vik Total 

Vasilyevsky Ostrov . . 329 339 668 798 435 1,233 

ij* Petersburg 161 120 281 528 254 782 

| C Narva 24 6 30 202 231 433 

Neva 150 40 190 585 173 758 

ed Okruzhnoi 451 63 514 737 737 

b Latvian 117 47 164 100 100 

Total 1,232 615 1,847 2,950 1,093 4,043 

^ Vyborg 97 256 353 155 267 422 

|t3 City 220 459 679 701 558 1,259 

s£ Moscow 185 248 433 331 83 414 

.1-2 Railway 21 154 175 29 105 134 

d Q Estonian 100 100 150 150 

Shop-Assistants ... 250 63 313 300 50 350 

Total 873 1,180 2,053 1,666 1,063 2,729 

Grand Total . . . 2,105 1,795 3,900 4,616 2,156 6,772 

* In all cases, by disputed votes are meant those that the other 
side considered not entirely correct, unverified, exaggerated, but not 
altogether fictitious. At the January 6 conference, the Bolsheviks 
decided to decrease the rate of representation for all disputed votes, 
allotting them one delegate per 75 members instead of one delegate 
per fifty members. 



The following conclusions may be drawn from these 

(1) St. Petersburg Social-Democratic workers displayed 
much greater interest in the reform of the St. Petersburg 
organisation (the purpose of the March 25 conference) than 
in the Duma elections in the urban curia (the purpose of the 
January 6 conference). 

The number of members of the Social-Democratic organ- 
isation could not have changed very considerably in the 
course of two and a half months. The harsh conditions in 
which meetings were held and votes counted were no bet- 
ter, but probably worse in March than before, in our police- 
ridden country (there were no university meetings; perse- 
cution of the workers had increased). 

The number of voting members of the Social-Democratic 
organisation increased by more than half, more than sixty- 
six per cent (from 3,900 to 6,772). 

(2) The preponderance of Bolsheviks over Mensheviks 
was incomparably greater when a greater number of votes 
were cast than it had been with a smaller number of votes. 
On January 6 the Mensheviks obtained 1,795 votes out 
of 3,960, or 46 per cent; on March 25 they obtained 2,156 
out of 6,772, or 32 per cent. 

(3) In the undisputed districts (the first six) a greater 
number of votes were cast for both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks 
(the increase in the number of votes cast for the former 
being much greater). In the disputed districts (the following 
six) the number of votes cast for the Bolsheviks increased and 
the number cast for the Mensheviks decreased. 

The number of votes cast for the Bolsheviks increased 
from 873 to 1,666. The number cast for the Mensheviks 
fell from 1,180 to 1,063. The preponderance of the Men- 
sheviks in the disputed districts proved non-existent. 

This fact settles the question of which side was to blame 
for the split. 

The second election, which confirmed the results of the 
first and was verified by the Central Committee's special 
commission, showed that in the disputed districts the num- 
ber of votes claimed by the Bolsheviks was actually less 
than the real number, while that claimed by the Mensheviks 
was greater than the real number! 



The Mensheviks stated, verbally and in print, that the 
Bolsheviks had exaggerated the number of votes in the dis- 
puted districts. The Bolsheviks accused the Mensheviks of 
the same thing. The second election produced a greater 
number of votes for the Bolsheviks and fewer for the Men- 
sheviks. Is it possible to imagine more convincing and more 
decisive proof that the Bolsheviks were right? 

This conclusion cannot be refuted either by reference to 
the fortuitous nature of the data taken by districts, or by 
saying that on January 6 we lumped the disputed and undis- 
puted votes. The first objection falls to the ground because 
we did not take separate districts but groups of districts, and 
compared six districts with six, specifically to preclude any 
references to fortuity. The data for individual districts 
(the Moscow District, for instance!) would be ten times more 
favourable to us. 

The second objection falls to the ground because we 
deliberately took the Menshevik figures as our basis, and 
the Mensheviks made insignificant corrections to them. In 
the opinion of the thirty-one, as expressed in their pamphlet 
(page 7) only the following votes "should actually not be 
confirmed" — 15 of the 150 Bolshevik votes in the Neva Dis- 
trict and all the Estonian Bolshevik votes; 107 out of the 
248 Menshevik votes in the Moscow District, and 41 out of 
154 Menshevik votes in the Railway District, which amounts 
to only 115 Bolshevik and 143 Menshevik votes. The shop- 
assistants' votes (the entire 313) were all rejected by the 
Mensheviks. It is easy to see that these amendments do not 
affect our conclusions. 

The March 25 conference, the elections to which were 
verified by a special commission appointed by the Central 
Committee and recognised by all as indisputable, has proved 
that, in the dispute over representation at the January 
6 conference, the Bolsheviks, whose preponderance proved 
very substantial, were right; the preponderance of the Men- 
sheviks was completely disproved. An attempt to object 
to our argument may, of course, be made by reference to 
the fact that the March 25 conference took place after the 
election campaign and, therefore, reflected the shift of 
Social-Democratic workers over to the side of the Bol- 
sheviks on this question, a shift that occurred after Jan- 



uary 6, 1907. Such an objection will naturally not weaken, 
but rather strengthen (although in a somewhat different 
way), the responsibility of the Mensheviks for the split 
over the elections. 

Responsibility for the St. Petersburg split over the elec- 
tions to the Second Duma rests entirely on the Mensheviks. 
We have always maintained this to be so, and we undertook 
to prove it to the Party as a whole. 

We have now submitted our final proofs. 

Written in April 1907 

Published on May 2, 1907, Published according 

in Proletary, No. 16 to the newspaper text 



In a certain sense of the word, it is only a nation-wide 
revolution that can be victorious. This is true in the sense 
that the unity of the overwhelming majority of the popu- 
lation in the struggle for the demands of that revolution is 
essential for victory to be won. This overwhelming major- 
ity must consist either entirely of one class, or of different 
classes that have certain aims in common. It is also true, 
of course, that the present Russian revolution can be victo- 
rious only if it is nation-wide in that specific sense of the 
word that the conscious participation of the overwhelming 
majority of the population in the struggle is essential for 
victory to be won. 

That, however, is the limit of the conventional truth- 
fulness of the catchword of a "nation-wide" revolution. No 
further conclusions can be drawn from this concept, which 
is nothing but a truism (only an overwhelming majority 
can be victorious over an organised and dominant minority). 
For this reason it is fundamentally incorrect and profoundly 
un-Marxist to apply it as a general formula, as a model, 
a criterion of tactics. The concept of a "nation-wide revolu- 
tion" should tell the Marxist of the need for a precise analysis 
of those varied interests of different classes that coincide in 
certain definite, limited common aims. Under no circum- 
stances must this concept serve to conceal or overshadow the 
study of the class struggle in the course of any revolution. 
Such use of the concept of "nation-wide revolution" amounts 
to a complete rejection of Marxism and a return to the vul- 
gar phraseology of the petty-bourgeois democrats or petty- 
bourgeois socialists. 



This truth is frequently forgotten by our Social-Demo- 
cratic Right wing. Still more frequently do they forget that 
class relations in a revolution change with the progress of 
that revolution. All real revolutionary progress means draw- 
ing broader masses into the movement; consequently — a 
greater consciousness of class interests; consequently — more 
clearly-defined political, party groupings and more precise 
outlines of the class physiognomy of the various parties; 
consequently — greater replacement of general, abstract, 
unclear political and economic demands that are vague in 
their abstractness, by the varying concrete, clearly-defined 
demands of the different classes. 

For instance, the Russian bourgeois revolution, like any 
other bourgeois revolution, inevitably begins under the 
common slogans of "political liberty" and "popular interests"; 
only in the course of the struggle, the concrete meaning of 
those slogans becomes clear to the masses and to the differ- 
ent classes, only to the extent that a practical attempt is 
made to implement that "liberty", to give a definite content 
even to such a hollow-sounding word as "democracy". Prior 
to the bourgeois revolution, and at its onset, all speak in 
the name of democracy — the proletariat and the peasantry 
together with urban petty-bourgeois elements, and the lib- 
eral bourgeoisie together with the liberal landlords. It 
is only in the course of the class struggle, only in the course 
of a more or less lengthy historical development of the rev- 
olution, that the different understanding of this "democ- 
racy" by the different classes is revealed. And what is more, 
the deep gulf between the interests of the different classes 
is revealed in their demands for different economic and po- 
litical measures, in the name of one and the same "democ- 

Only in the course of the struggle, only as the revolution 
develops, is it revealed that one "democratic" class or stra- 
tum does not want to go, or cannot go, as far as another, 
that while "common" (allegedly common) objectives are 
being achieved, fierce skirmishes develop around the method 
by which they are to be achieved, for example, on the degree, 
extent or consistency of freedom and power of the people, 
or the manner in which land is to be transferred to the 
peasantry, etc. 



We have had to recall all these forgotten truths so as to 
enable the reader to understand the dispute that recently 
took place between two newspapers. This is what one of 
them, Narodnaya Gazeta, wrote against the other, Nashe 

"'The grouping of the population by party,' wrote Nashe Ekho, 
'that important political lesson and the revolution's most important 
political acquisition at the time of the elections to the Second Duma, 
showed clearly by nation-wide facts that broad strata of the land- 
lords and bourgeoisie are swinging to the Right.' Quite true. But 
the mood and the mandates which the 'Left' deputies — Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, Trudoviks, and Popular Socialists — have brought 
with them from their localities also 'showed clearly' on a nation- 
wide scale that the 'people' are at present steeped in Cadet 'consti- 
tutional illusions' to a considerable degree, that the 'people' place 
excessive hopes on the independent activities of the Duma, that they 
are excessively concerned with 'saving' the Duma. That is the 
obvious fact that the Nashe Ekho writers failed to notice. They did 
notice whom the people sent to the Duma, but not what they were 
sent there for. But in that case, will Nashe Ekho not agree that, in pro- 
posing that the proletariat ignore 'nation-wide' tasks, it is proposing 
that it isolate itself, not only from bourgeois 'society', but also from 
the petty-bourgeois 'people'?" 

This is an extremely instructive and noteworthy tirade, 
which conceals three major opportunist errors; first, the 
results of the elections are contrasted with the mood of the 
deputies, which is substituting the deputies' mood for that 
of the people, and reverting from the more profound, exten- 
sive and basic to the shallower, narrower and derivative.* 
Secondly, the question of a firm and sustained political line 
and tactics for the proletariat is replaced by the question of 
an assessment of some "mood" or another. Thirdly — and 
this is most important — for the sake of the vulgarly demo- 
cratic fetish of a "nation-wide revolution", the proletariat 
is scared with the bogey of "isolation" from the "petty 
bourgeois people". 

We shall deal with the first two errors as briefly as possible. 
The elections affected the masses, and showed, not only 
their fleeting mood but their profound interests. It is alto- 

* As far as "mandates" are concerned we reject that argument 
completely. Who makes a count of revolutionary and opportunist 
instructions and mandates? Who does not know how many newspa- 
pers have been suppressed for publishing revolutionary instruction? 



gether unworthy of Marxists to revert from class interests 
(expressed by the party grouping at the elections) to a 
fleeting mood. The mood of the deputies may be one of 
gloom, while the economic interests of the masses may 
call forth a mass struggle. An assessment of "mood", there- 
fore, may be necessary to determine the moment for some 
action, step, appeal, etc., but certainly not to determine 
proletarian tactics. To argue differently would mean re- 
placing sustained proletarian tactics by unprincipled depend- 
ence on "mood". And all the time, the point at issue was 
that of a line and had nothing to do with a "moment". 
Whether or not the proletariat has at present recovered (and 
Narodnaya Gazeta does not think so) is of importance in 
deciding the "moment" for action, but not in determining 
the tactical line of action of the working class. 

The third error is the most profound and the most im- 
portant — the fear of "isolating" the Social-Democrats or 
the proletariat (which is the same thing) from the petty- 
bourgeois people. That is really a most improper fear. 

Social-Democracy must isolate itself from the petty- 
bourgeois people inasmuch as the Socialist-Revolution- 
aries, Trudoviks and Popular Socialists are really trailing 
along in the wake of the Constitutional-Democrats — and 
that is happening — and indeed has happened very frequently 
beginning with the voting for Golovin, and continuing with 
the famous tactics of sepulchral silence, etc. For there must 
be one of two things; either the vacillation of the petty 
bourgeoisie is, in general, an indication of the shaky nature 
of the petty bourgeois, and the difficult and arduous develop- 
ment of the revolution, but does not signify that it has ended 
or that its forces are exhausted (which is our opinion). 
Then, by isolating itself from all and every vacillation and 
wavering in petty-bourgeois people, the Social-Democratic 
proletariat educates them for the struggle, trains them in 
preparation for the struggle and develops their political 
consciousness, determination, firmness, etc. Or else, the 
wavering of the petty-bourgeois people means the finale of 
the present bourgeois revolution (we believe such a view to 
be wrong, and none of the Social-Democrats have directly 
and openly defended it, although extreme Right-wing 
Social-Democrats are undoubtedly inclined to do so). Then, 



again, the Social-Democratic proletariat must also isolate 
itself from the wavering (or treachery) of the petty bourgeoi- 
sie, in order to educate the working-class masses in class- 
consciousness, and prepare them for a more planned, firm 
and decisive participation in the next revolution. 

In both cases and in all cases, the Social-Democratic 
proletariat must isolate itself from the petty-bourgeois 
people, which is steeped in Cadet illusions, and do so uncon- 
ditionally. The proletariat must in all cases pursue the 
firm, sustained policy of a truly revolutionary class, with- 
out allowing itself to be flustered by any reactionary or 
philistine cock-and-bull stories, whether these are about 
nation-wide tasks in general, or about a nation-wide revolu- 

It is possible that, given a certain combination of forces 
or a concurrence of unfavourable conditions, the overwhelm- 
ing part of the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois strata may 
be infected, for the time being, with servility, slavishness or 
cowardice. That would be "nation-wide" cowardice, and 
the Social-Democratic proletariat isolates itself from it in 
the interests of the working-class movement as a whole. 

Proletary, No. 16, 
May 2, 1907 

Published according 
to the Proletary text 



PARTY 173 

No. 20 of Narodnaya Duma (April 3, 1907) carried the 
following item: "The Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. 
has addressed the following letter to Party organisations. 
'A few days ago a booklet was published under the title of 
Minutes of the First Conference of Military and Combat 
Organisations* To prevent all possible misunderstanding, 
the Central Committee deems it essential to make the follow- 
ing explanations on this matter. (1) The conference was 
called by representatives of a number of military and combat 
organisations, not only without the consent of the Central 
Committee but even in spite of its vehement protest, that 
body being of the opinion that the unification of combat 
organisations in any form whatsoever would be impermis- 
sible. (2) The Technical Group at the Central Committee 
was not given the consent of that body for participation in 
the "conference", and the member of the group who went so 
far as to participate has been soundly reprimanded by the 
Central Committee for doing so without its knowledge. To 
this must be added that the military organisations of the 
Baltic Area took part in the conference contrary to a deci- 

* The real title, abridged by the Central Committee, reads: "...or- 
ganisations of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, (Con- 
ference) held in November 1906" (St. Petersburg, 1907. Price 60 
kopeks. 168 pp. +IV). 



sion of the Central Committee of the Social-Democratic 
Party of the Latvian Area.'" 

The reader will see from this that our Central Committee 
is very angry and anxious to denigrate a certain conference 
in the eyes of the Party, and to conceal the point at issue 
behind a list of formal discrepancies. 

We advise all Party members to acquaint themselves with 
the exceedingly interesting Minutes of the Military and 
Combat Organisations of the R.S.D.L.P. so as to convince 
themselves of the amusing nature of the Central Committee's 
wrath and dissatisfaction. We, for our part, deem it essen- 
tial to give at least a brief assessment of this book (and 
of the "conflict" arising out of it). 

Let us begin with the formal aspect of the matter men- 
tioned in the Central Committee's wrathful statement. The 
conference was called despite its protest, for the Central 
Committee was "of the opinion that the unification of com- 
bat organisations in any form whatsoever would be imper- 
missible". This is very wrathful, but illogical to the point 
of incoherence. If it does not, in general, regard the confer- 
ence as a "form of unification", then it completely misses 
the target. If a meeting ("conference") of combat organisa- 
tions is also impermissible as a "form of unification", then 
we ask ourselves in perplexity — how can representatives of 
Party organisations be forbidden to confer so long as they 
are Party organisations that have not been dissolved either 
by the Party Congress or the Central Committee? Apparently 
the Central Committee is afraid to express its real idea 
(the desire to dissolve all combat organisations), and is 
therefore wrathful in an amusing manner. Would it really 
not have been natural to expect objections in substance 
to certain steps or decisions taken by the conference instead 
of the outcry: "The meeting is not permitted"? This outcry 
is meant to prevent the presentation of the problem as it 
really stands? — that is a thought that occurs to one of its 
own accord. 

Let us now look into the history of the way the confer- 
ence of military and combat organisations of the R.S.D.L.P. 
was convened. Last autumn there was a conflict on this issue 
between the St. Petersburg military organisation and the 
Central Committee. The former called the conference of 



military and combat organisations , and in doing so referred 
to "the right to call conferences granted to local organisations 
by Party Rules".* The Central Committee opposed the ini- 
tiative of the St. Petersburg military organisation, and 
was against allowing combat organisations to attend. It 
so turned out that two conferences were held: (1) the October 
conference of military organisations only, at which represent- 
atives of the Central Committee were present; (2) the 
November Conference of military and combat organisations 
without the participation of a Central Committee represent- 
ative (although the Central Committee appointed one of 
its members to attend that conference as well). Representa- 
tives of eight military organisations participated in the October 
conference. The November conference was attended by 
eleven military and eight combat organisations. Represent- 
atives of the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. 
and other Party officials attended both conferences in a 
consultative capacity. 

The resolutions of the October conference were published 
by the Central Committee in the above-mentioned pamphlet 
(Brief Extract). The resolutions of the November conference 
were published in Proletary, No. 9, and were later included 
in the publication Minutes, issued as a separate booklet. 
The Central Committee's protest, with which we opened this 
article, refers to the November conference. 

It stands to reason that the fact of there having been two 
conferences should be condemned. That is undoubtedly 
an undesirable event in a single party. Leaving the formal 
aspect aside, we pose the question of the substance of the 
conflict that was responsible for two conferences; was the 
participation of combat organisations in the conference 
useful or harmful? We read in the resolution of the October 
conference: "...there is an urgent need for the Party to call 
a conference devoted specifically to military organisations, 
to discuss the question of preparing the troops to participate 
in the armed struggle of the people, a conference that has 
nothing to gain from the participation of representatives of 

* See the Central Committee's publication Brief Extract from 
the Minutes of the First Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. Organisations 
Conducting Activities Among the Troops, a pamphlet of thirteen 
pages issued by the Central Committee Press. 



combat groups" (page 4 of the Central Committee's pam- 
phlet). That was all. Those were the motives in their entirety. 

The incorrectness of these motives is palpable. Let us 
assume that everything bad that can be said against combat 
organisations is true. But it is a fact that they did participate 
in former attempts at an insurrection. For that reason alone 
it would be useful and even necessary to consult them. It 
would be useful to make their harmful tendencies known to 
the Party, and expose such-and-such activities of theirs at 
a conference attended by them. The Central Committee and 
every member of the conference could and should have done 
this. The decisions of the conference were not in any way 
binding upon anybody, and were certainly not obligatory 
either for the Central Committee or for the local commit- 
tees. Under such conditions, fear of a joint meeting is simply 

And if the Central Committee now forthrightly condemns 
a conference with representatives of combat organisations 
participating, without condemning any one of the resolutions 
of the conference with equal forthrightness, that must mean 
that the conference disproved the Central Committee's 

To deal immediately with the decisions of the conference, 
let us take, for instance, its resolution on the tasks of combat 
organisations. Here we read: "The Conference of Military 
and Combat Organisations recognises the main tasks of 
combat organisations to be (1) dissemination of a correct 
conception of an armed uprising and explanation of the con- 
crete conditions under which an armed uprising may arise, 
proceed, and be successfully consummated, because even 
among Party officials there exist the vaguest and most incor- 
rect conceptions of an armed uprising;. (2) the technical 
preparation of everything necessary for the successful con- 
duct of an armed uprising; (3) the organisation, for bold 
action, of cadres of politically conscious workers, grouped 
around the R.S.D.L.P.; (4) assistance in the organisation, 
for combat purposes, of the revolutionary-democratic sec- 
tions of the population, and in strengthening the fighting 
leadership of Social-Democracy among those sections." 

Thus, the main task of the combat organisations is de- 
clared to be, first and foremost, "the dissemination of a correct 



conception of an armed uprising" . This idea is repeated in 
much sharper form in the resolution on the role of military 
and combat organisations during an armed uprising: "the 
role of the combat organisations is to develop a correct con- 
ception of the armed uprising among the masses of the 

And so our Menshevik Central Committee considers a 
conference on this to be impermissible? Or was it anxious 
to hide behind the bureaucratic screen — "no collective activ- 
ities are permissible, or even a conference" — in order to 
rid itself of the unpleasant duty of giving the Party a definite 
explanation of which of the tasks of the combat organisations 
it considers correct, and which incorrect? 

The fact of the matter is that a truly pharisaic attitude 
to the combat organisations is prevalent among the Men- 
sheviks; they have nothing against taking advantage of 
any of the "results" of the activities of reorc-Party combat 
organisations, but they spread old wives' tales about Party 
combat organisations that enable them to evade altogether 
the question of methods of disseminating among the masses 
the correct conception of the armed uprising, etc. 

Among such tales there is, for example, the one now cur- 
rent that the combat groups (following in the wake of the 
Bolsheviks) exaggerate the significance of the technique of 

Excellent, gentlemen! You accuse us of exaggerating 
the significance of "technique", do you? Would you care to 
read two resolutions — those of the Menshevik (October) 
and the Bolshevik (November) military Social-Democratic 
conferences — to get at the truth of the matter? 

On work among officers. Resolution of the Menshevik 
(October) conference: 

"The conference recognises that revolutionary propaganda among 
officers is an important task both because the work of the Social- 
Democratic military-revolutionary organisation among officers can 
greatly facilitate our work among the troops in peace-time, and also 
because at the time of an armed uprising revolutionary officers can 
serve as the technical leaders of the insurrection. The conference, 
therefore, recommends to the military-revolutionary organisation 
that it devote great attention to work among officers, striving as far 
as possible to convert them into politically conscious supporters of 
the Social-Democratic Party" (p. 13 of the Central Committee's pamphlet). 



The resolution of the Bolshevik (November) conference: 

"Whereas: (1) the class, social composition of the corps of officers 
and their interests as a professional military caste compel them to 
strive for the retention of the regular army and the under-privileged 
position of the people; (2) in view of this, the officers, as a body, play 
a reactionary part in the present bourgeois-democratic revolution; 
(3) the existing oppositionally-minded groups of officers do not play 
an active part and (4) at the same time it is possible that individual 
officers may come over to our Party and they may, in view of their 
specialised knowledge and special military training, render consid- 
erable services during an uprising of the army and its defection to 
the side of the people, and also in technical preparations for an armed 

"the conference of military and combat organisations recognises: 
(1) that they cannot build up an independent Social-Democratic 
military organisation among the officers; (2) that it is essential to 
use the existing oppositionally-minded groups of officers for pur- 
poses of information and in order to draw into our Party military and 
combat organisations individuals who can serve as instructors and 
practical leaders" (Minutes, p. 132). 

The Mensheviks do not say a word about the class composition 
of the corps of officers, or about its role during the whole 
course of the bourgeois revolution. The central feature of the 
Bolshevik resolution is an assessment of both the one and the 
other. That is the first point. The Mensheviks have nothing 
but technique, since all proof of the "importance" of work among 
the officers is reduced to nothing but the fact that such 
work" could facilitate" our activities among the troops (provide 
us with quarters? or with legal cover?) and could then provide 
technical leaders. The Bolsheviks give subordinate place to 
technique, as services rendered by "individual officers", 
and give prominence to proof that the workers' party cannot 
build up an "independent Social-Democratic organisation' 
among the officers. That is the second point. The ideas of 
the Mensheviks — petty-bourgeois in nature because they 
fear to show the class connections between the corps of 
officers and the bourgeoisie — are complemented by the tim- 
idity of the conclusion drawn — "as far as possible convert 
them into politically conscious supporters of the Social- 
Democratic Party". The Bolsheviks give a frank proletarian 
assessment of a stratum that is, on the whole, reactionary, 
and this leads to a decisive conclusion: use oppositionally- 
minded officers "for purposes of information" and draw only 



"individual officers" into our Party military and combat 
organisations. That is the third point. 

After that, it may well be asked what else but old wives' 
tales can one call the Menshevik chatter about the exagger- 
ation of the significance of technique by the Bolsheviks in 
general, and the Bolshevik combat groups in particular? 
As we have seen, this chatter has actually served, on the one 
hand, to cover up the narrow Menshevik view concerning 
the corps of officers, and, on the other hand, the purely in- 
tellectualist, opportunist fear of assessing the bourgeois 
class character of the composition of the corps of officers 
and of introducing into the work among the troops the idea 
of the class difference between the mass of "rank-and-file" 
soldiers drawn from the peasants and workers, and the handful 
of sons of the aristocracy or of the bourgeoisie, who worm 
themselves into the aristocracy through military service. 

It was not only the Menshevik participants in the tiny 
October conference who displayed this "technical" and 
petty-bourgeois opportunist view of the corps of officers. 
We find that our Menshevik Central Committee shares this 
view; we have only to recall the famous fourth letter to 
organisations (the period when the Duma was dissolved) 
where the slogan "for the Duma" as an organ of power 
that could convene a constituent assembly, was justified 
by an effort at adaptation to the interests and level of po- 
litical consciousness "of the middle bourgeoisie and corps 
of officers" . In that letter, the Central Committee went so 
far as to say that the victory of the Soviets of Workers' 
Deputies in the struggle for power would lead only to the 
military dictatorship of the army that had gone over to 
the side of the people! For, you see, without the "liberal" 
officers, the troops would not be able, even jointly with the 
Soviets of Workers' Deputies, to ensure anything else but 
a military dictatorship! 

This petty-bourgeois view with regard to the corps of 
officers is also displayed by Plekhanov, the ideological 
leader of the Mensheviks. Throughout 1906 we saw the efforts 
he made to accuse the Bolsheviks of exaggerating the signif- 
icance of the technical tasks of the uprising. What aspect 
of the uprising did our esteemed Comrade Plekhanov write 
about during that time? Was it about the insurrection's 



roots in the masses, or the role of the peasant and proletar- 
ian elements in the insurrection? Nothing of the sort. All 
that time Comrade Plekhanov wrote only about one letter 
from one liberal officer, in Dnevnik, No. 7 (August 1906), 174 
whom he with the greatest politeness "corrected" for his 
bourgeois views on the "men" and on the "tranquil" nature 
of the period of Witte's Ministry, etc. "I even think," wrote 
Comrade Plekhanov, "that only [note that "only"!] the 
participation of officers in the military organisations will 
put an end to these outbreaks [of soldiers and sailors] that 
are an unplanned and unproductive waste of energy needed 
by the revolution." You see the strength behind it — only 
the participation of officers will put an end to the outbreaks! 
Without the officers there will be no end to the "unplanned" 
waste of energy by the foolish muzhik. And when the Bol- 
shevik combat groups meet in conference and wish to give 
the Social-Democratic Party a modest piece of advice — let 
the main task of the combat organisations be that of impart- 
ing military knowledge to the masses, of teaching them 
to understand the course of the insurrection and the condi- 
tions for its planned conduct — then the Pharisees of hide- 
bound Menshevism begin to shout. What a narrowly tech- 
nical conception of "planning"! What an "impermissible" 
conference of combat groups, contrary to the will of the 
Central Committee! 

But enough of the Pharisees — let us get back to the min- 
utes. In one place we found, not "modest advice" to the 
Social-Democratic Party, but pretentious and clumsy proj- 
ect-mongering. That was in the report made by Comrade 
Izarov 175 on the role of the Party during the armed uprising. 
Here Comrade Izarov really did go to absurd extremes, such 
as the division of Party organisations into three main types — 
military, combat and proletarian! He even went so far as 
to offer "plans" to form "military-combat councils" with an 
equal number of delegates from the three types of organisa- 
tion (p. 95), etc. It goes without saying that we Bolsheviks 
will always hold aloof in the most decisive manner from 
such "combatism" . The unconditionally dominant character 
and deciding voice belong to the general proletarian organ- 
isation; the complete subordination of all military and com- 
bat organisations to it, the necessity to base those same com- 



bat organisations entirely on cadres of workers who are Social- 
Democratic Party members (or, perhaps, even replace the 
combat organisation by a Party militia) — to us there is no 
shadow of doubt in all this. 

But if Comrade Izarov's absurd excesses are brought 
against us for factional purposes, we would ask such "critics" 
to remember that the Bolshevik military and combat confer- 
ence did not accept Izarov's extremes. The best refutation of 
the calumnies directed against our combat groups is the 
fact that they themselves at their own conference, simply 
pushed Izarov's project-mongering aside. In order that 
their voice on the question of the role of the Social-Demo- 
cratic Party in an insurrection should not be regarded as 
pretentious imposition or dictating, etc., they themselves 
turned their conference on this point into a private meeting 
(see Proletary, No. 9, and Minutes, p. 116). It was only at 
this private meeting that they passed a resolution without 
a suggestion of project-mongering a la Izarov, but with only 
a point about "ensuring the closest connection and co-oper- 
ation between general-proletarian, military and combat 
organisations". In addition, the resolution on the tasks of 
military organisations particularly stresses "the subordi- 
nation of all the work" to "the political leadership of general- 
proletarian organisations" {Proletary, No. 9, Minutes, p. 137). 
If the Bolshevik combat organisations alone were able to 
correct Izarov, one may well realise that the Central Commit- 
tee had good reason for apprehension when confronted with 
a general meeting of the military and combat organisations 
of the whole Party. 

Space does not permit us to deal in such detail with other 
aspects of the work of the conference. We must mention that 
almost half of this thick book is devoted to work among the 
troops (pp. 10-49) and former attempts at an armed upris- 
ing (pp. 53-59, 64-79). This is very valuable material, 
and all politically conscious Social-Democratic workers 
will thank the military and combat conference for its 
initiative in gathering and preparing this material. We 
note the report made by Comrade Varin 176 "on former attempts 
at an armed uprising"; in this report prominence is given 
to a study of the armed uprising as a specific form of the mass 
movement, a special form of the class struggle of the prole- 



tariat. Stress is laid on the historic moment when the strug- 
gle between certain classes is sharpened to the extreme, as 
a condition for the uprising. The role of various classes is 
examined — the dependence of the movement among the 
troops upon the alignment of social forces, the indivisibility 
of the political and military aspects of the uprising, the 
significance of "broad democratic organisations of the masses 
of the people" as a prerequisite for a provisional revolution- 
ary government, etc. The study of such problems is, of 
course, rather more difficult than the writing of "tactical 
platforms" containing Cadet phrases about "faith of the 
proletarian masses in the miracle of a spontaneous insurrec- 
tion" (see the "Tactical Platform" of Martov & Co.). 

Lastly, let us note the discussion on current affairs, with 
the splendid speech by Comrade Ilyan 177 who, in November 
1906, at the military and combat conference, proved able 
to express a view on the Second Duma that has been fully 
confirmed by events. "I shall permit myself to touch upon 
the Duma," he said. "We shall have a composition that 
will differ completely from that of the past Duma. What 
we shall have is mobilised revolution and mobilised reaction. 
Particularly in view of its expectations not having been 
fulfilled, the peasantry will send a more revolutionary ele- 
ment than it did to the First Duma. No doubt the proletariat 
will do the same.... Our trouble is that some Social-Demo- 
crats are striving to fill up the Duma with some sort of 
intermediate stratum of liberals" (p. 84 of the Minutes). 

At the combat conference they were better able to assess 
politics than were Plekhanov and the Menshevik Central 
Committee in November 1906. 

It goes without saying that in a newspaper article we 
cannot deal fully with the contents of the Minutes. We 
shall conclude by giving readers our earnest advice to study 
them — advice to those Social-Democrats who are capable of 
discussing questions of an insurrection without any liberal 

Written in April 1907 

Published on May 2, 1907, Published according 

in Proletary, No. 16 to the Proletary text 




As you will have learned from bourgeois newspapers 
(Tovarishch, et al.), the Central Committee of our Party has 
instituted a Party tribunal to examine my activities, 
specifically, my pamphlet The St. Petersburg Elections and 
the Hypocrisy of the Thirty-One Mensheviks,* which appeared 
at the time of the split in the St. Petersburg Social-Demo- 
cratic organisation during the elections to the Second 

The tribunal has been constituted of three members 
representing me, three from the thirty-one Mensheviks, and 
three members of a Presidium nominated by the central 
committees of the Latvian and Polish Social-Democratic 
parties and the Bund. I have submitted to that tribunal a 
counter-charge of impermissible conduct against the thirty- 
one Mensheviks and against Comrade Dan (a member of the 
editorial board of the Central Organ and, through the Central 
Organ, a member of the Central Committee). The counter- 
indictment was supported on the one hand by a meeting of 
234 St. Petersburg Bolshevik members of the Party (their 
resolution, together with their report giving a resume of 
the whole matter, was published in Proletary, No. 13), and 
on the other hand by the St. Petersburg Social-Democratic 
Conference (minus the seceding Mensheviks). The resolution 
of this conference was published in Proletary, No. 14. 179 

See pp. 33-44 of this volume.-— Ed. 



In its capacity of an institution set up by the Central 
Committee, the tribunal did not consider itself justified 
in indicting the thirty-one Mensheviks and Comrade Dan, 
and turned to the same Central Committee for a definition 
of its competency on the question of the counter-indictment. 
At a special session the Central Committee again examined 
this question, and confirmed that the present tribunal had 
been instituted exclusively for the examination of Lenin's 
case and that the arraignment of other persons before the 
tribunal depended entirely on the Central Committee, 
which, of course, deemed it its duty to arraign before the 
tribunal all persons against whom the present tribunal 
would formulate a charge of impermissible conduct. The 
composition of the new tribunal was again left entirely to 
the discretion of that same Central Committee. 

Thus we get a tangle of glaring incongruities and con- 
tradictions. The Menshevik Central Committee is playing 
the role of an institution that brings up for trial and also 
determines both the composition of the tribunal and its 
competency. A counter-indictment has been submitted 
against the leader of the Menshevik section of the Central 
Committee. The very same persons, it seems, appoint the 
tribunal, are themselves prosecutors and also decide the 
question of what to do with a counter-indictment against 

Obviously such arrangements are not capable of inspiring 
respect for the Party. Only the Party Congress can unravel 
this tangle of incongruities. I therefore appeal to the Cong- 
ress with a request: grant the tribunal full judicial powers 
directly from the Congress; make the tribunal in every way 
independent of the Central Committee, which (its Men- 
shevik section) is clearly interested in the case; grant the 
tribunal the right to examine the case in all its aspects, 
without any restrictions and to indict any Party members 
and any Party institutions, not excluding the Menshevik 
section of the Central Committee, etc. 

For an explanation of the case to members of the 
R.S.D.L.P. Congress, I append (1) the full text of my speech 
for the defence (or for the prosecution of the Menshevik section 
of the Central Committee) that I delivered at the first session 
of the tribunal. (The tribunal held only two sessions and 


examined only three of several dozen witnesses. The tri- 
bunal was interrupted by the Congress.) (2) A brief summary 
of the real history of the St. Petersburg split. 


Comrade judges, the Central Committee has charged me 
with having made a statement (in the press) impermissible 
in a Party member. That is what is said in the decision of 
the Central Committee instituting the Party tribunal. I 
shall begin directly with the substance of the matter: I 
shall read out in full the "declaration" which the Central 
Committee "submits for consideration by the tribunal". 

"The Central Committee declares that the pamphlet, The St. 
Petersburg Elections and the Hypocrisy of the Thirty-One Mensheviks, 
signed by Comrade Lenin directly charges the thirty-one members 
of the St. Petersburg organisation with having entered into negotia- 
tions with the Cadet Party 'for the purpose of selling workers' votes 
to the Cadets', and the Mensheviks with having 'bargained with the 
Cadets to get their man into the Duma in spite of the workers, with 
the aid of the Cadets'. 

"The Central Committee declares that the appearance of such an 
accusation in the press, particularly on the eve of the elections, was 
certain to cause confusion in the ranks of the proletariat, cast suspicion 
upon the political integrity of Party members, and will be utilised by the 
enemies of the proletariat in their struggle against Social-Democracy. 

"Being of the opinion that such a statement is impermissible in a 
Party member, the Central Committee submits Lenin's conduct 
to consideration by a Party tribunal." 

Such is the full text of the indictment. First of all I will 
observe that there is an important error of fact, which I 
shall ask the tribunal to correct on the basis of the text 
of the pamphlet incriminating me. Specifically: in the pam- 
phlet it is stated plainly and definitely that I accuse not 
only the thirty-one Mensheviks, but also Comrade Dan, i.e., 
a member of the Central Committee. 

In drawing up its decision the Central Committee must 
have known that Comrade Dan is a member of the Central 
Committee (he may even have taken part in the discussions 
of the question, or in the decision to indict me for accusing 



him), and that I accuse not only the thirty-one, but Dan 
as well. It appears, therefore, that the Central Committee 
deliberately excluded its own member from the number whom 
I accused. Here, in addition to the error of fact, the indict- 
ment contains something worse, something intolerable, and 
I shall later make a detailed appraisal of this aspect of the 
case, and shall try to explain precisely this aspect, using 
all of the material that comes before the tribunal in the 
course of the trial. 

I now pass on to the substance of the charge. 

The Central Committee quotes two passages from my 
pamphlet, and I must analyse each of them as fully as pos- 
sible. I am aware, of course, that the question at issue is 
the whole of the above-mentioned pamphlet, and not merely 
these passages. But, following the example of the Central 
Committee, I take these as the main and principal parts. 

The first passage is taken from the very beginning of the 
pamphlet. I shall take the liberty of reading a whole page 
to show the context of this passage. 

"The newspaper Tovarishch has today (January 20) 
published" — I want to remind you that this took place 
five days before the formation of the Left bloc in St. Peters- 
burg and sixteen days before the elections to the State Duma 
in the city of St. Petersburg — "lengthy excerpts from the 
manifesto of the thirty-one Mensheviks who seceded from the 
socialist organisation on the eve of the St. Petersburg elec- 

I emphasise that the very first sentence in the pamphlet 
brings to the fore the fundamental fact of the split in St. 
Petersburg on the eve of the elections. I lay stress on this 
circumstance, because I shall have to refer to its importance 
many times later on. 

I continue the quotation: 

"First of all, let us briefly recall the actual history of 
what the Menshevik seceders from the Social-Democrats 
have done since they walked out of the Conference...." A 
few days before the pamphlet we are now discussing ap- 
peared, I published another pamphlet entitled Social-Democ- 
racy and the St. Petersburg Elections and also a pamphlet 

See p. 33 of this volume. — Ed. 


When You Hear the Judgement of a Fool {From the Notes 
of a Social-Democrat Publicist).* Almost the whole issue of 
the latter pamphlet was confiscated by the police. Only a 
few copies were saved, and I am referring to it so that the 
tribunal may study the picture of the events of the time in 
their entirety, and not in fragments. 

"(1) After breaking away from the Social-Democrat workers 
they entered into a bloc with the petty bourgeoisie (the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, the Trudoviks and the Popular Socialists) in order 
jointly to bargain with the Cadets for seats. The written agreement 
under which the seceding Social-Democrats joined the petty-bourgeois 
bloc was concealed from the workers and from the public. 

"However, we still had hopes that this agreement would eventually 
be published, and the secret revealed." 

I draw the attention of the tribunal to the fact that in 
the pamphlet in which I accuse Dan and the thirty-one 
Mensheviks, I emphasise from the very beginning that the 
written agreement was concealed from the workers. 

Let us proceed: 

"(2) As a constituent part of the petty-bourgeois bloc (incorrectly 
styled the 'Left bloc' by the newspapers), the breakaway Mensheviks 
bargained with the Cadets for three places out of the six for this bloc. 
The Cadets offered two seats. They could not come to terms. The 
meeting between the petty-bourgeois 'conference' (this expression 
is not ours — we borrow it from the newspapers) and the Cadets was 
held on January 18. Both Rech and Tovarishch reported it. Rech 
announces today that no agreement was reached (although we 
must, of course, be prepared to hear that negotiations are still being 
conducted behind the scenes). 

"So far the Mensheviks have made no announcement in the press 
concerning their 'operation' for the sale of workers' votes to the Ca- 

That is the position regarding the first passage. I wrote 
these words against the Mensheviks on the very day that 
/ for the first time learned from the newspapers that the 
attempt of the Mensheviks and the Narodniks to form a 
bloc with the Cadets against the majority of the St. Peters- 
burg Social-Democratic organisation had failed; but I at 
once made the reservation that I could not regard the agree- 
ment as having been finally abandoned and that it was nec- 
essary to be prepared for the worst — the continuation of 

See present edition, Vol. 11, pp. 431-55 and pp. 456-74.— Ed. 



the negotiations "behind the scenes". Why did I consider 
then (and I still think that the view I then held was correct) 
that it was necessary to be prepared for the worst? Because 
it was a wrong step to conceal from the public a written 
agreement between the Mensheviks and the petty-bourgeois 
bloc, a step unworthy of a socialist and inevitably giving 
rise to the worst suspicions. 

What was meant by the "sale" of workers' votes to the 
Cadets? Some jokers told me that they understood me to 
have said sale for money. This jest is not devoid of wit. But 
a literate person who read in earnest the whole of the pam- 
phlet, and not disjointed passages from it, would, of course, 
see at once from the context, from all the preceding and 
subsequent passages, that what is referred to is a sale not 
for money, but for seats in the Duma. The "bargaining" 
and "sale" imply, of course, a barter of political and not 
economic equivalents, of seats for votes, not of money for 

The question arises: was it worth while bothering with 
such a clear and obvious circumstance? 

I am profoundly convinced that it was, for this point 
brings us squarely to the elucidation of the question pre- 
sented by the Central Committee — of statements that are 
permissible and impermissible in the press. 

If the passage in the pamphlet we are examining had 
read: the thirty-one were selling workers' votes to the Ca- 
dets for money — that would have been imputing shameful 
and criminal acts to an opponent. Anyone making such an 
imputation would deserve to be tried, and certainly not for 
"carrying confusion into the ranks of the proletariat", but 
for libel. That is perfectly clear. 

On the other hand, if the passage in question had stated: 
the thirty-one spoke in favour of adding workers' votes to 
Cadet votes on the condition that the Social-Democrats were 
assured seats in the Duma that would be an example of 
loyal and properly conducted polemics, permissible in 
Party members. 

What is the difference between this last-quoted wording 
and the one I chose? The difference is in the tone, that tone 
which makes the whole music. Exactly. The wording is 
calculated to evoke in the reader hatred, aversion and con- 


tempt for people who commit such deeds. Such wording is 
calculated not to convince, but to break up the ranks of 
the opponent, not to correct the mistake of the opponent, 
but to destroy him, to wipe his organisation off the face 
of the earth. This wording is indeed of such a nature as to 
evoke the worst thoughts, the worst suspicions about the 
opponent and indeed, as contrasted with the wording that 
convinces and corrects, it "carries confusion into the ranks 
of the proletariat". 

I may be asked: well, do you admit that such wording 
is impermissible? I shall answer, Yes, certainly, but only 
with the following little proviso — impermissible in members 
of a united party. This proviso represents the crux of the 
matter. The accusation which the Central Committee ad- 
vances against me is wrong. I shall say more, it is dishonest, 
precisely because the Central Committee remains silent 
about the fact that at the time the pamphlet was written 
a united party did not exist in the organisation from which 
it emanated (not formally, but in essence), and whose aims 
it served. It is dishonest to advance a charge of publishing 
statements in the press "impermissible in a Party member" 
at a time when a split has taken place in the Party. 

A split means a rupture of all organisational ties between 
the two party groups concerned; it shifts a conflict of ideas 
from within the bounds of a single organisation to some- 
where outside it, from correcting and convincing comrades 
to destroying their organisation, to inciting the masses of 
the workers (and the masses of the people generally) to 
oppose the breakaway organisation. 

What is impermissible in members of a united party is 
permissible and obligatory for sections of a party that has 
been split. It is wrong to write about Party comrades in a 
language that systematically spreads among the working 
masses hatred, aversion, contempt, etc., for those who hold 
other opinions. But one may and must write in that strain 
about an organisation that has seceded. 

Why must one? Because when a split has taken place it 
is one's duty to wrest the masses from the leadership of the 
seceding section. I am told — you carried confusion into the 
ranks of the proletariat. My answer is — I purposely and 
deliberately carried confusion into the ranks of that section 



of the St. Petersburg proletariat which followed the Men- 
sheviks who seceded on the eve of the elections, and I shall 
always act in that way whenever a split occurs. 

By my sharp and discourteous attacks on the Mensheviks 
on the eve of the St. Petersburg elections, I actually succeeded 
in causing that section of the proletariat which trusts and 
follows the Mensheviks to waver. That was my aim. That 
was my duty as a member of the St. Petersburg Social- 
Democratic organisation which was conducting a campaign 
for a Left bloc; because, after the split, it was necessary, 
in order to conduct that campaign, to rout the ranks of the 
Mensheviks who were leading the proletariat in the footsteps 
of the Cadets; it was necessary to carry confusion into their 
ranks; it was necessary to arouse among the masses hatred! 
aversion and contempt for these people who had ceased 
to be members of a united party, had become political ene- 
mies, and were trying to put a spoke in the wheel of our 
Social-Democratic organisation in its election campaign. 
Against such political enemies I then conducted — and in 
the event of a repetition or development of a split shall 
always conduct — a struggle of extermination. 

If, after the split which the Mensheviks engineered in 
St. Petersburg, we had not carried confusion into the ranks 
of that section of the proletariat which followed the lead of 
the Mensheviks, we should not have been able to carry on 
our Left bloc election campaign. My only regret is that, 
being away from St. Petersburg, I did not sufficiently 
contribute to this cause of wresting the masses from the 
influence of the breakaway Mensheviks; for given a more 
zealous and rapid execution of this task, the Left bloc would 
have gained a victory in St. Petersburg. The statistics of 
the election results prove this. 

The basic logical (and, of course, not only logical) error 
in the indictment is that the question of the split is craftily 
evaded, the fact of the split is hushed up, and attempts 
are made to apply demands, legitimate from the standpoint 
of party unity, to conditions in which there is no unity, no 
united party, and what is more — I shall prove this later on — 
when absence of unity and of a united party lies at the door 
of the accusing Central Committee itself, which organised 
and covered up the split. 


If anyone were to use what is permissible in an internal 
Party struggle as a measure of struggle based on a split, 
a struggle directed against the Party from without or (in 
case of a local split) against the given Party organisation, 
he would have to be regarded either as being childishly 
naive or a hypocrite. From the organisational point of view, 
a split signifies a rupture of all organisational ties, i.e., 
the transition from a struggle to convince comrades within 
the organisation, to a struggle to destroy the hostile organi- 
sation, destroy its influence over the masses of the prole- 
tariat. From the psychological standpoint it is perfectly 
obvious that the severance of all organisational ties between 
comrades already signifies an extreme degree of mutual 
bitterness and hostility, which has grown into hatred. 

Moreover, in the St. Petersburg split there were two 
special circumstances which intensified the sharpness and 
the ruthlessness of the struggle tenfold. 

The first circumstance was the role of the Party's Central 
Committee. According to Party Rules, its duty is to unite, 
and any local split should lead, not to a struggle on the basis of 
that split, but to a complaint being lodged with the Central 
Committee, or, more broadly speaking, to an appeal to the 
Central Committee for help in getting unity restored. In 
reality, on the eve of the elections in St. Petersburg, the 
Central Committee acted as the initiator of and participant 
in the split. It is precisely this circumstance, worked out 
in detail and supported by documentary evidence in the 
preamble to the decision of the Conference to present a 
counter-indictment, that compels us to regard the St. Pe- 
tersburg split as a dishonest split. I shall refer to this sep- 
arately later on, and I shall insist that the tribunal take 
up the questions which follow from the juridical nature of 
this indictment presented by the accused against the 

The second circumstance is the election campaign in St. 
Petersburg at the time of the split. If a split occurs at a time 
when there is no immediate, open, mass political action, or 
when the Party generally is not engaged in some political 
action, it may not always be necessary to wage an immediate 
and merciless war of extermination. But if such mass action 
is in progress — elections, for instance — and if it is necessary 



at all costs immediately to intervene in the elections and 
conduct them in one way or another, a split must immediately 
and unfailingly call forth a war of extermination, a war to 
determine who is to conduct the elections — the local Social- 
Democratic organisation or the group that has seceded from 
it. Given such a split, it is impossible even for a moment to 
postpone the task of wresting the masses from the influence 
of the secessionists, of smashing their organisation, and of 
politically nullifying them. It is only thanks to the ruthless 
force of the Bolshevik onslaught against the Mensheviks 
after the latter had seceded on January 6, that we achieved 
an election campaign in the capital that was relatively unit- 
ed, conducted more or less on Party lines, and bore at least 
some semblance to a Social-Democratic campaign. 

They say — fight, but not with a poisoned weapon. This 
is a very fine and striking expression, to be sure. But it is 
either a fine platitude or else it expresses in a vague and 
nebulous fashion the very same idea of a struggle, one that 
sows in the masses hatred, aversion and contempt for the 
opponents — of a struggle that is impermissible in a united 
party, but inevitable and necessary when a split has oc- 
curred, because of the very nature of the split, i.e., the idea 
I set forth in the beginning of my speech. However much 
you twist this sentence or metaphor, you will not be able to 
squeeze a grain of real sense out of it besides this very dif- 
ference between the loyal and properly conducted method 
of fighting by means of argument within the organisation, 
and the method of fighting by means of a split, i.e., by de- 
stroying the enemy organisation, by rousing among the 
masses hatred, aversion and contempt for this organisation. It 
is the dishonest splits that are poisoned weapons and not 
the war of extermination which results from a split that has 
already taken place. 

Are there any limits to a permissible struggle stemming 
from a split? No Party standards set limits to such a strug- 
gle, nor can there be such limits, for a split implies that 
the Party has ceased to exist. It is ridiculous even to think 
it possible to fight by Party methods, by means of Party 
decisions, etc., against the methods of struggle that arise out 
of a split in the Party. The limits of a struggle stemming from 
a split are not Party limits, but general political limits, 


or rather general civil limits, the limits set by criminal law 
and nothing else. If you have broken away from me, you 
cannot demand more of me than you demand of the Cadet, 
the Socialist-Revolutionary, or any man in the street, 

I shall further illustrate my idea with a graphic example. 
The next issue of Proletary will contain a report on the 
elections in the city of Kovno, sent by a local correspondent. 
The correspondent is very much dissatisfied with the bloc 
concluded by the Bund with the Dostizhentsi, 180 against 
the Lithuanian Social-Democrats, and sharply criticises 
the Bund. What sort of criticism is permissible for members 
of a united party? The dissatisfaction should have been 
expressed somewhat as follows: the Bundists acted incor- 
rectly by forming a bloc with the Jewish bourgeoisie against 
the socialists of another nation; this behaviour reveals the 
influence of petty-bourgeois nationalist ideas, etc. As long 
as we belong to the same party as the Bund, a pamphlet 
directed against them and distributed in large quantities 
on the eve of an election and describing the Bundists as 
traitors to the proletariat would be absolutely impermissi- 
ble. But what if the case of 1903 were repeated — generally 
speaking, history does not repeat itself, and I am only taking 
a hypothetical case — and the Bund secedes from the Party. 
Could anyone then seriously raise the question of the imper- 
missibility of pamphlets calculated to instil in the Bundist 
working masses hatred, aversion and contempt for their 
leaders, and describing these leaders as bourgeois in 
disguise, as those who had sold themselves to the Jewish 
bourgeoisie and were trying to get their men into the Duma 
with the latter's assistance, etc.? Anyone who made such 
a complaint would be ridiculed to his face — do not cause 
splits, do not use the "poisoned weapon" of a split; but if 
you do, then do not complain if he who raises the poisoned 
sword perishes by the poisoned sword! 

After all that has been said above, there is no need to 
dwell at length on the second passage quoted. It reads: 
'The Mensheviks bargained with the Cadets to get their man 
into the Duma, in spite of the workers, with the aid of 
the Cadets — such is the simple explanation of all these 
peregrinations from the Social-Democrats to the petty-bour- 



geois bloc and from the petty-bourgeois bloc to the Cadets."* 
If you analyse this passage formally, and superficially, from 
the standpoint of a united party, you will certainly say — in 
referring to Party members you should have said "con- 
ducting negotiations" and not "bargaining", "to secure the 
election of" instead of "get", a "Social-Democrat deputy" 
instead of "their man", and so on. But would such an "anal- 
ysis" of the quotation, or such an "opinion" of the method 
of expression, evoke anything but a smile? Is it not clear 
that the use of the most offensive and contemptuous mode of 
expression, which puts everything in the worst light, not 
in the best, is a method of fighting that stems from a split, 
of fighting for the extermination of the organisation which 
disrupts the political campaign of the local Social-Demo- 
cratic proletariat? To complain about the offensive, insult- 
ing, and insidious character of the expressions used would 
be the same as if a strike-breaker were to complain of the bit- 
terness displayed towards him by strikers. To discuss com- 
plaints or accusations on this plane would be the same as 
if we were to condemn the word "strike-breaker" as being 
impermissible, without going into the essence of the question 
of whether the behaviour of the person concerned was actual- 
ly that of a strike-breaker or not. 

There are different kinds of splits. I have repeatedly used 
the expression a "dishonest" split. I shall now dwell on this 
aspect of the case. The Central Committee states in its in- 
dictment that I cast suspicion on the political integrity 
of Party members. This is put too mildly and is wrongly 
applied to the above quotations. I not only "cast suspicion 
on the political integrity" of the thirty-one and Dan; by 
the whole content of my election pamphlets I accuse them 
of causing a politically dishonest split, or one that is dis- 
honest from a Party standpoint. And I insist on this accu- 
sation. All attempts to shift the weight of this accusation 
from the general, basic and fundamental question of the 
organisers of the split, to petty, particular and subsidiary 
questions will be of no avail. 

Every split is a great crime against the Party, for it de- 
stroys the Party, and breaks Party ties. But there are dif- 

See p. 39 of this volume. — Ed. 


ferent kinds of splits. The expression "dishonest split" 
which I have used on several occasions, cannot be applied 
to every split. I shall quote an example to illustrate this. 

Let us assume that two trends have long been contending 
in the Party, one of which, let us say, is in favour of support- 
ing the policy of the Cadets, and the other is opposed to 
this. A big political event occurs which accentuates the 
Cadet tendencies and brings nearer a deal between them 
and reaction. Those in favour of supporting the Cadets 
break with those who are opposed to such support. Such 
a split, like any other split, will inevitably give rise to 
a very acute and bitter struggle, which will rouse hatred, 
etc.; but we cannot regard such a split as being dishonest, 
for there is nothing else behind such a split than the sharp- 
ening of differences on matters of principle. 

Now imagine another kind of split. Let us assume that the 
two trends in the Party have agreed to apply varying tac- 
tics in various localities. If this general agreement is broken 
in one of the localities, broken in a secret, underhand 
fashion, by behaving treacherously towards comrades — then 
everyone will certainly agree that such a split is a dishonest 

In St. Petersburg, the Mensheviks engineered precisely 
such a split on the eve of the elections. At the All-Rus- 
sian Conference both trends solemnly promised, in the first 
place, to submit to the local tactics of the local organ- 
isations during the elections. The St. Petersburg Mensheviks 
were the only ones in the whole of Russia who broke that 
promise. That is dishonest. It is treachery to the Party. 

Secondly, instead of uniting the Party, the Central 
Committee pursued a factional policy to such a degree that 
it positively assisted the Menshevik split, and Dan, a mem- 
ber of the Central Committee, took a most active part in 
this. That is dishonest. It is tantamount to using against 
the Party the power delegated by the Party. It is tantamount 
to driving a poisoned knife stealthily into the back of the 
Party, while professing to be a defender of Party unity. 

These are the two main facts which have compelled me 
to describe the thirty-one and Dan as being politically dis- 
honest. The whole of my pamphlet is imbued with the spirit 
of contempt for such people. 



And I have upheld my accusation before this tribunal, 
I have directed all my efforts to making the tribunal pro- 
ceedings reveal to the judges all the attendant circumstances 
of the St. Petersburg split, enabling them to decide with 
complete conviction the question of whether this split was 
an honest split or not, whether "poisoned weapons" were 
used by those who engineered the split or by those who 
waged a ruthless war of extermination against the organ- 
isers of the split. 

If this question is cleared up in full, to its very depth and 
core, if it is cleared up by the delegates of the national Social- 
Democratic parties, who for the first time have become 
really affiliated with the R.S.D.L.P., it may have enormous 
effect in establishing real Party relations in our Party in- 
stead of a thinly disguised split. 

The subject of the present trial is not of a formal or strict- 
ly juridical nature. Surely the crux of the matter is not 
whether, in a united party, one should write, bargain or con- 
duct negotiations, elect or place deputies, sell votes for seats 
or give votes on condition of obtaining seats, etc.; such a con- 
ception of the question can, of course, only call forth a smile. 

The crux of the matter is whether we attach any real value 
to the unity of our Party, or whether we are to become 
reconciled to splits, write about them, and cover up these 
ulcers with formal subterfuges. Comrade judges, your judge- 
ment will determine, and determine, perhaps, to no small 
degree, whether the St. Petersburg split will be the last 
one, the really final echo of a bygone general Party split, 
or ... whether it will be the beginning of a new split and, con- 
sequently, of a new, general struggle with poisoned weapons. 

Your judgement will determine whether the shaken unity 
of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party will be 
weakened or strengthened. 


At the November (1906) conference of the R.S.D.L.P. 
it was unanimously decided that everybody would submit 
to the decisions of local Social-Democratic organisations in 
election matters. 


At that same conference Lenin stated: "Let there be no 
contravention of the St. Petersburg Committee decision 
by the Vyborg District either" (report of the Menshevik 
section of the St. Petersburg Social-Democratic organisa- 
tion), thereby giving warning, as it were, of the mutuality 
of the commitment. 

A special article in Proletary, No. 8 (November 1906), 
called on Bolsheviks sharply to criticise blocs with the 
Constitutional-Democrats, but to remain subordinated to 
the local organisations. 

Also in November 1906, Comrade Dan, a member of the 
Central Committee, participated "entirely in a personal ca- 
pacity" (as he stated at the tribunal) in a meeting arranged 
by Engineer Fedorovich, at which were present Milyukov 
and Nabokov (leaders of the Cadet Central and St. Peters- 
burg Committees), one leader of the Socialist-Revolution- 
aries, and Peshekhonov (leader of the Popular Socialists). 
They spoke about the elections, but (according to Comrade 
Dan) not those in St. Petersburg. Comrade Dan did not find 
it necessary to report this meeting either to the Central 
Committee or to the St. Petersburg Committee. 

In December 1906, Comrade Dan appeared at an informa- 
tive meeting on the election question, attended by represent- 
atives of the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., 
as well as of the Constitutional-Democrats, Popular Social- 
ists and Socialist-Revolutionaries. Dan stated that he 
represented the Central Committee, but was expressing his 
"own personal views" on the desirability of agreements, 
according to district, in St. Petersburg. 

At a meeting of the Central Committee on January 4, 
1907, a decision was taken to demand, in the form of an 
ultimatum, that the conference of the St. Petersburg Social- 
Democratic organisation divide into an urban and a gubernia 
conference. The Bolshevik members of the Central Commit- 
tee (Maximov, Zimin, and Stroyev) 181 submitted a protest 
against this step, which actually amounted to the Central 
Committee splitting the St. Petersburg organisation. 

The conference of the St. Petersburg Social-Democratic 
organisation, which decided the question of the elections, 
was held on January 6, 1907. There were 39 Bolsheviks and 
31 Mensheviks present. The Mensheviks walked out of the 



conference for two formal reasons — (1) because they con- 
sidered the mandates incorrectly distributed and (2) because 
the conference refused to split into urban and gubernia 
conferences as demanded by the Central Committee. 

To assess the value of these reasons for the split, I cite 
three facts — (1) at the January 6 conference 42 mandates for 
the Bolsheviks and 28 for the Mensheviks were confirmed. 
In the pamphlet issued by the Mensheviks they stated that 
35 mandates for the Bolsheviks and 32 for the Mensheviks 
should have been recognised, that is, they admitted the 
preponderance of Bolsheviks; (2) because of the split the next 
conference of the St. Petersburg Social-Democratic organisa- 
tion was elected under the supervision of a control commis- 
sion especially appointed by the Central Committee. The 
elections to the March 25 conference produced 92 Bolshe- 
viks and 41 Mensheviks. The new elections confirmed a still 
greater preponderance of Bolsheviks; (3) the Central Com- 
mittee did not demand the division of the conference in 
any other city in Russia, be it Wilno, Odessa, or Baku 
This demand in the form of an ultimatum was unlawful 
and directed, for patently factional reasons, only against 
St. Petersburg. 

After walking out of the conference, the Mensheviks elect- 
ed their own executive body and began issuing their own 
pamphlets (with the participation of Central Committee 
Menshevik members, Comrade Dan among them) and con- 
ducted an independent election campaign. Without the Bol- 
sheviks they entered into agreements with the Narodnik par- 
ties (Popular Socialists, Socialist-Revolutionaries and Trudo- 
viks) for a joint agreement with the Constitutional-Democrats. 

The bourgeois press in St. Petersburg (Rech, Strana, 
Tovarishch and others) gave hearty praise to the Mensheviks 
for the split, styled them "a moderate socialist party", 
called for a bold struggle against the Bolsheviks, were 
jubilant over the isolation of these "Blanquists", etc. The 
Bolsheviks who, on January 6, had proposed to the Narod- 
niks a bloc against the Constitutional-Democrats, took 
no part in any of the negotiations. 

On January 14, a Rech editorial promised the Mensheviks 
a seat from the worker curia in the event of the bloc being 
successful against the Bolsheviks. 


At a meeting held on January 17, the Mensheviks decided 
to place all seats obtained by them at the disposal of the 
worker curia. Tovarishch wrote about this on January 19. 

On January 15, Milyukov was received in audience by 
Stolypin, after which the Constitutional-Democrats shifted 
clearly to the Right. 

On January 18, there was a conference of Mensheviks, 
Narodniks and Cadets. The Cadets offered two seats, but 
three were demanded of them. A break with the Cadets. 

On January 20, Tovarishch published extracts from a 
Menshevik pamphlet directed against the Bolsheviks and 
undermining their election campaign. That same day I 
wrote the pamphlet The St. Petersburg Elections and the 
Hypocrisy of the Thirty-One Mensheviks, which appeared some 
three days later. 

On January 25, a Left bloc was set up in St. Petersburg. 
On January 28, there was a meeting of delegates elected 
(January 7 and 14) by the factories for the worker curia 
of the city of St. Petersburg. Between 200 and 250 out of 
the 271 were present. The majority, against ten or twelve, 
adopted a resolution in favour of the Left bloc. The resolu- 
tion made a special appeal to the Mensheviks "not to give 
support to the Cadets even in covert form" . 

The Mensheviks, who on January 17 had promised to give 
"their" places to the worker curia, not only gave no heed 
to the voice of a meeting of all delegates, but straightaway 
called it "a Socialist-RevolutionaryJ3olshevik witches' 

On January 30 a meeting of Social-Democratic delegates 
was held. The candidates of the St. Petersburg Committee 
were nominated as electors. 

On January 29 the Left bloc called on non-party progres- 
sive voters in the Kolomna Ward to tear up their written 
agreement with the Mensheviks, because in that agreement 
(as well as in the printed Menshevik pamphlet) there was 
the proviso: "Menshevik electors do not consider themselves 
bound by the conditions of the Narodnik-Bolshevik bloc insofar 
as the distribution of deputies' seats is concerned'" (Point 
II, Subsection 3). This proviso is an obvious attempt to leave 
open for themselves an opportunity to vote with the Cadets 
against the Left bloc at the second stage of the elections. 



On February 7, the elections were held in St. Petersburg. 
The Black-Hundred danger was completely disproved. The 
Cadets obtained 28,798 votes, the Left bloc— 16,703, the 
Octobrists— 16,613 and the monarchists— 5,270. The Left 
bloc had only to capture 1,573 votes from the Cadets in 
five wards to have been victorious throughout St. Peters- 
burg. In the Kolomna Ward the Left bloc obtained only 
196 votes less than the Cadets. 

Such is a brief list of the facts. It is clear from them 
that, in point of fact, the election campaign in St. Peters- 
burg was disrupted by the Mensheviks. In point of fact, the 
conspiracy to effect a split was begun as early as November, 
and was begun by member of the Central Committee Dan. 
In point of fact, it was precisely Dan, plus the Menshevik 
members of the Central Committee, who in St. Petersburg 
effected the split contrary to the wishes of the majority 
of the local organisation.... 

Published as a separate pamphlet 
in April 1907 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according 
to the text of the pamphlet 


APRIL 30-MAY 19 {MAY 13- JUNE l), 1907 

First published in the book Published according 

The London Congress to the manuscript, 

of the R.S.D.L.P. (1907), verified with the book 
Unabridged Minutes, Paris, 1909 



MAY 2 (15) 

From the discussion on this question it has become quite 
clear that major differences of opinion on tactics divide the 
various trends within the Social-Democratic Party. Who 
would have thought that, under such circumstances, the 
proposal would be made to remove all questions of principle 
from the Congress agenda? And what sophistic arguments 
were indulged in here in defence of removing these questions 
of principle — allegedly for the sake of being practical and 

Let me remind you that the R.S.D.L.P. was long ago 
confronted with the question of the tasks of the proletariat 
in the bourgeois-democratic revolution. This question was 
discussed as far back as the beginning of 1905, before the 
revolution, both at the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., 
that is, of its Bolshevik section, and at the Geneva Con- 
ference of the Mensheviks, which was held simultaneously. 
At the time, the Mensheviks themselves placed questions 
involving general principles on the agenda of their congress. 

At the time, they themselves discussed the principles 
underlying the tactics of the proletariat in the bourgeois 
revolution, and adopted studied decisions on this score. 
The fact that it is now proposed to throw out such questions 
is the result of a sense of despondency, and we must fight 
against this frame of mind, not succumb to it! 

Mention was made of the experience of the West-European 
Social-Democratic parties and their business-like congresses. 
But I must tell you that at their congresses the Germans 



frequently discussed questions that were more abstract 
and more theoretical than those dealing with an appraisal 
of the revolution taking place in our country, and the 
tasks of the proletariat in this revolution. We must not 
take from the experience of other parties things that bring 
us down to the level of some period of everyday routine. 
We must take that which brings us up to the level of general 
questions, of the tasks of the entire revolutionary struggle 
of the entire proletariat. We must learn from the best exam- 
ples, and not from the worst. 

We are told — "Serious tactical questions cannot be decided 
by the majority vote of a dozen". What is this but sophistry? 
What is this but a helpless shift from adherence to principle 
to lack of principle? 

A solution of the problem is never achieved through vot- 
ing. For several years now we have been deciding questions 
of the Marxist appraisal of our revolution. For several years 
now we have been putting our theoretical views and general 
tactical decisions to the acid test of experience of our revo- 
lution. And we are now being told that it is not yet time 
to sum up this Party activity! It is not right, they say, to 
decide on the fundamental principles underlying our tac- 
tics; instead it is necessary to follow in the wake of events, 
making decisions from occasion to occasion.... 

Just recall the Stockholm Congress. At that congress 
the Mensheviks, who had gained the upper hand, withdrew 
their own resolution appraising the given period, withdrew 
their own resolution on the attitude towards the bourgeois 
parties. What was the outcome? It led to the Central Com- 
mittee having no grounds of principle for the solution of 
problems confronting it; it led to the Central Committee 
being at a loss for a whole year, with no policy whatever. 
One day it was in favour of a constituent assembly, the 
next day it hurriedly advocated a Duma ministry, and the 
following day "the Duma as an organ of power for the con- 
vocation of a constituent assembly"; now it was a Duma 
with full legislative authority, then blocs with the Cadets.... 
Is this what you call a consistent proletarian policy? (Ap- 
plause from the Centre and from the Bolshevik benches.) 

We are told: "For the sake of peace in the Party, for the 
sake of practical work let us avoid general questions". 



This is sophistry. Such questions must not be evaded; 
such evasion will not result in peace, but only in blinder and 
hence more irate and less fruitful party strife. 

Such questions cannot be evaded. They force their way 
into everything. Recall Plekhanov's words at the opening 
of the congress: ... Since our revolution was bourgeois, he 
reasoned, we had to make particular haste to attract allies 
from among the bourgeoisie. I maintain that the principles 
underlying this line of reasoning are erroneous. I maintain 
that unless you analyse these principles you are condemning 
the Party to endless practical mistakes. 

In this same speech Plekhanov stated that opportunism 
was feeble in the Russian Social-Democratic Party. This 
may be so if one considers the works of Plekhanov himself 
feeble! (Applause from the Bolshevik benches.) But I am of 
the opinion that opportunism manifests itself in our Party 
in the very fact that, at the first really general Party congress, 
the desire is expressed that general questions concerning 
the principles underlying our tactics in the bourgeois 
revolution should be removed from the agenda. We must not 
remove theoretical questions from the agenda, but raise 
all the practical work of our Party to the level of theoretical 
clarification of the tasks of a workers' party. (Applause from 
the Bolsheviks.) 





MAY 4 (17) 

I should have liked to speak solely on the political aspect 
of the question. But Comrade Abramovich's last speech 
compels me to deal briefly with his remarks. When Comrade 
Abramovich spoke about the "besieged" Menshevik Central 
Committee, I thought to myself: "Poor Mensheviks! Again 
they are in a state of siege. They are 'besieged' not only when 
they are in the minority, but even when they are in the ma- 

Are there not certain inner reasons stemming from the 
very nature of Menshevik policy, which impel the Men- 
sheviks to complain eternally about being besieged by the 
proletarian party? 

What are the facts adduced by Comrade Abramovich re- 
garding the siege of the Menshevik Central Committee? 
There were three — the agitation for an extraordinary cong- 
ress, the conference of military and combat organisations, 
and finally "other organisational questions", as Comrade 
Abramovich put it. 

Let us examine these three facts. 

Agitation for an extraordinary congress became wide- 
spread when it emerged that the Central Committee was in- 
disputably running counter to the will of the majority of 
the Party. Let me remind you that this was after the Central 
Committee had launched a slogan calling for support of 
a responsible ministry. At that time, the Bund had not 
joined our Party, but the Poles and the Latvians had. Both 
the former and the latter quite definitely rejected the policy 



of the C.C. Hence, it is an absolutely indisputable fact that 
the C.C. was at the time at variance with the vast majority 
of the Party. Who, then, was besieging whom — was it the 
majority of the Party that besieged the Party C.C. when 
it demanded that the latter render an account of its activi- 
ties to the congress? Or was it the C.C. that besieged the 
Party by going counter to it? Call to mind how far Plekhanov 
went at the time. His letter against the congress was pub- 
lished in Sotsial-Demokrat, official publication of the C.C. In 
this letter Plekhanov reacted to the call for a congress with 
suspicions concerning the motives behind the agitation, and 
tirades about the workers' mites. Give this thought: was it 
not Plekhanov who was wrong to permit himself to do such 
things against the majority of the Party, which was demand- 
ing a congress? 

I will say only this — after the decision of the November 
All-Russian Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. the agitation for 
an extraordinary congress ceased. 

The second fact — the conference of military and combat 
organisations. There were two conferences. This, of course, 
is unfortunate, but it is strange to see in this anything like 
a "siege" of the C.C. Would it not have been better to explain 
what was wrong with the decisions of the conference which 
took place independently of the C.C, rather than to dismiss 
the matter by complaining about a siege? Let me remind you 
that representatives of the Moscow and St. Petersburg com- 
mittees were present at both conferences — hence no Party 
group as such was linked up with either conference. The 
resolutions of the Bolshevik conference of military and 
combat organisations, published in November 1906, have 
not so far encountered any serious criticism. 

The third fact — "other organisational questions". Just 
what does this mean? Concretely, what is included in this. 
Is it the St. Petersburg split at the time of the elections, 
engineered by the Mensheviks with the help of the C.C? 
But it would be simply ridiculous to speak about a siege 
of the C.C. in this connection. 

I shall now proceed to the political aspect of the question. 
Our main task is to examine how the C.C. guided the class 
struggle of the proletariat, how it applied in practice the 
tactics adopted at the Unity Congress. 



The first slogan which the Central Committee offered the 
Party was that of support for the demand for a "Duma" 
or "responsible" ministry. Comrade Martov has stated to us 
here that this slogan was put out for the purpose of extending 
and intensifying the conflict between the Duma and the 

Is that the case? What should the proletarian extension 
and intensification of the conflict consist in? It should, of 
course, consist in pointing out the real field of struggle and 
clashes giving rise to the conflict — the field of the class strug- 
gle in general, and, in this particular case, the struggle of 
the people against the old regime. To extend and intensify 
the Duma conflict, we ourselves should have understood and 
explained to the people that the Duma conflict was simply 
an incomplete and distorted reflection of the conflict between 
the people and the old regime, that the struggle in the Duma 
was a faint echo of the revolutionary struggle outside the 
Duma. To extend and intensify the conflict, we should have 
raised political consciousness and political demands from 
the level of Duma slogans to the level of those calling for 
a general revolutionary struggle. The C.C. acted in the oppo- 
site way. It blunted and narrowed down the slogans calling 
for a revolutionary struggle to the dimensions of those call- 
ing for a Duma ministry. It did not call on the people to 
fight for power, even though this struggle stemmed from 
the entire objective situation, but to struggle for a deal 
between the liberals and the government. Whether delibe- 
rately or not, the C.C. called upon the Party to adopt the slo- 
gans of the parliamentary "peaceful" path at a time when 
actually objective conditions demanded a revolutionary 
struggle outside of parliament. Actually there was no 
serious social movement whatever for a "responsible minis- 
try", nor could there have been one. Even the Menshevik 
Social-Democratic group in the Duma (the First Duma) did 
not adopt this slogan of the C.C. (Martov: "That's not true!") 
Yes, it is true, Comrade Martov, and a simple reference to 
the resolution of the C.C. and to the verbatim reports of the 
First Duma will show that it is true. 

Irrespective of the desires and motives of the C.C, its 
slogan was actually an adaptation to liberal policy. And 
this adaptation could not have yielded any results, because 



liberal policy did not reflect the genuine social movement 
of the time but was merely a dream of halting the revo- 
lution, although it has by no means halted yet. The course 
of events showed that this entire business with the 
"responsible ministry" was an attack with ineffective 

The second slogan of the C.C. dates back to the period 
of the July strike. We must not blame the C.C. for the 
failure of the strike at the time. It is not to the discredit, 
but rather to the credit, of a central committee like that of 
the Mensheviks that it on that occasion nevertheless went 
to meet the revolution half-way. It is not the fault of the 
C.C. that, from its St. Petersburg purview, it did not know 
the sentiments of the proletariat throughout Russia. Nor 
can we declare it to be a mistake for us to have been confi- 
dent of an uprising at the time, and to have expected it. 
The uprising actually took place, and our preliminary slo- 
gans, our policy prior to the uprising, were among the 
elements which made for the success or failure of this 

The mistake of the Central Committee was, as I see it, 
in endeavouring, once the revolutionary struggle reached 
the stage of an uprising, to confine that struggle to non- 
revolutionary or curtailed revolutionary slogans. This 
was reflected in the C.C. slogan — "Partial mass expressions 
of protest". This was reflected still more vividly in the 
slogan — "For the Duma as an organ of power for the convo- 
cation of a constituent assembly". The issue of such lifeless 
slogans was tantamount to adapting proletarian policy to the 
policy of the liberal bourgeoisie. And once again events 
showed how utterly vain and impotent were the attempts to 
effect such an adaptation. Complaints and whining about 
the helplessness of the workers' party are frequently heard 
among us. But let me tell you that you are helpless precisely 
because you dull the edge of your slogans. (Applause from the 
Bolshevik benches.) 

To proceed. Let us examine the question of the bloc with 
the Cadets during the elections to the Second Duma. In 
his report on behalf of the C.C. Martov washed his hands 
of this question with amazingly complacent formalism. 
You see, he says, the C.C. agreed that blocs are permissi- 



ble, and in strict accordance with the C.C. directive blocs 
were permitted! {Laughter.) It would not be at all amiss 
if, in a political report of the C.C, one were to base oneself 
not on the formal legitimacy of a decision but on the essen- 
tial correctness of the given policy as tested in practice. 
We Bolsheviks constantly asserted that the notorious Black- 
Hundred danger was nothing but liberal defence against 
the danger from the Left, and that if we were guided in our 
policy by fear of the Black-Hundred danger, we should 
actually be rising to the liberal bait. The election results 
showed that we were right. In a number of cities the election 
returns refuted the tales of the liberals and Mensheviks. 
(Voices: "What about Kiev, Poland, and Wilno!") I haven't 
the time to go into individual localities, but I shall deal 
with the political results in general. Statistician Smirnov 
calculated the election returns for 22 cities as follows: 
41,000 for the Left bloc; 74,000 for the Cadets; 34,500 for the 
Octobrists, and 17,000 for the monarchists. Of the 72,000 
votes cast in 16 other cities, 58.7 per cent went to the oppo- 
sition and 21 per cent went to the reactionaries. The elec- 
tions revealed the fictitiousness of the Black-Hundred 
danger, while the policy of the "permissibility" of blocs 
with the Cadets, allegedly by way of exception, proved to 
be a policy of proletarian dependence on the liberal bour- 

Let me tell you that you should not scorn theoretical 
disputes, or contemptuously dismiss differences in opinion 
as factional inventions. Our old disputes, our theoretical, 
and especially our tactical, differences are constantly being 
converted, in the course of the revolution, into the most 
downright practical differences. It is impossible to take a 
single step in practical politics without coming up against 
the very same fundamental problems underlying an apprais- 
al of the bourgeois revolution, the relations between the Cadets 
and Trudoviks, and so forth. Practical experience does not 
erase differences of opinion; it sharpens and vitalises them. 
And it was not by chance that such prominent Mensheviks 
as Plekhanov reduced to the absurd the policy of blocs 
with the Cadets. In advancing his celebrated "Duma with 
full powers", Plekhanov advocated a common slogan for the 
proletariat and the liberal bourgeoisie. Plekhanov only 



reflects more saliently and more forcibly than others the 
quintessence, the basic tendency, of the entire Menshevik 
policy — replacing the independent line of the working 
class with adaptation to the liberal bourgeoisie. The bank- 
ruptcy of our C.C. was primarily and above all the bankrupt- 
cy of this policy of opportunism. (Applause from the 
Bolsheviks and part of the Centre.) 




MAY 8 (21) 

I should like once again to bring the discussion back to 
an appraisal, from the standpoint of principle, of the policy 
of the Duma group. Comrade Tsereteli stated: "Even though 
we may have made blunders, we were not guilty of political 
vacillation". I believe that it would be absolutely wrong 
to blame a young Duma group, which is only just beginning 
to function, for its mistakes. But the fact of the matter is 
that there was vacillation in the very policy of the group. 
And we must frankly admit this vacillation, and make it 
our business to get rid of it, not for the purpose of condemn- 
ing individuals, but in order to educate the proletarian 
party as a whole. 

Comrade Tsereteli referred to the history of Europe. 
"The year '48," he said, "not only taught us that the condi- 
tions for socialism were not yet ripe, but also that it is 
impossible to fight for freedom without some sort of alliance 
with bourgeois democracy." Comrade Tsereteli's argument 
is revisionism of the first water. On the contrary, both the 
revolution of 1848 and subsequent historical experience 
have taught international Social-Democracy the very oppo- 
site, namely, that bourgeois democracy takes its stand more 
and more against the proletariat, that the fight for freedom 
is waged consistently only where it is led by the proletariat. 
The year 1848 does not teach us to make alliances with 
bourgeois democrats, but rather the need to free the least 
developed sections of the masses from the influence of bour- 
geois democracy, which is incapable of fighting even for 



democracy. When Comrade Tsereteli referred to the expe- 
rience of 1848 in the spirit of Bernsteinism, he was demon- 
strating the very revisionism that Plekhanov had without 
good reason assured us was weak in our Party. Comrade 
Tsereteli's statement about the food relief commission was 
also typical of his wavering on matters of principle. "We 
have not sufficiently stressed the legality of our proposal 
to investigate the case on the spot," stated Tsereteli. "We 
were distracted by general discussions and missed the chance 
to convince others with arguments on the legality of our 
plan. The next time we shall correct this error." 

This presentation of the question throws vivid light on 
the whole shakiness of our group's position. Just imagine — 
people are saddened by the insufficiency of their reasoning 
in favour of legality! Can they really not see that the point 
at issue is not one of reasons for or references to legality, 
or "convincing" the Cadets or anyone else? Surely it must be 
clear to them that by the very nature of things, the government 
could not and would not have allowed investigation on the 
spot, since it saw in it (and justly so) a direct appeal to the 

No matter how many references to legality we might 
make, it would not change the essence of things. And in- 
stead of looking down — convincing the masses of the people, 
showing them the truth — Tsereteli looks up, desiring to 
convince the liberals, to attract them with legality.... 
That is real bourgeois parliamentarianism. And the fruit- 
lessness of such petty, miserly, wretched playing at politics 
strikes one immediately, for it is clear that neither the Men- 
sheviks nor the Cadets can budge Stolypin from his policy, 
by any parliamentary ruses. Isolation from the masses is 
a self-evident fact; advantages to be derived from legal 
persuasion of the Stolypins and the Cadets are but idle dreams 
of an idle intellectual. 

I see the same vain opportunist efforts in the negotiations 
with the Narodowci; reference to Bebel as a defence of them 
is most feeble. Bebel, they say, stated: If the cause requires 
it, we will have dealings with the devil's own grandmother. 
Bebel was right, comrades: if the cause requires it, then, 
of course, you may have dealings even with the devil's 
grandmother. But can you tell me for what cause your 



dealings with the Narodowci were necessary? For none 
whatever. The advantages of such relations are nil. And 
so it seems that what Bebel said was correct, but you 
understand him incorrectly. 

All this going to the Narodowci, votes for Golovin, 
attempts to delete the demand for confiscation are simply 
component parts of a single incorrect line. They are not 
manifestations of inexperience, but manifestations of poli- 
tical vacillation. And from this point of view inviting 
Mr. Prokopovich was likewise no trifle. We have been 
told here that Mr. Prokopovich is not present and that 
without him we cannot condemn his action. This is merely 
sending us from Pontius to Pilate. At the St. Petersburg 
conference we were told that we should put it off until the 
congress, that we could not get to the bottom of it without 
a congress. Now at the congress we are told that we cannot 
do anything without Prokopovich — let us put it off and 
refer it to the St. Petersburg organisation. That is sophistry. 

Prokopovich is a man of letters whose works are known 
to everyone. He is the type of bourgeois intellectual who 
has penetrated into our Party with definite, opportunist 
aims. His joining the Party in the Railway District was 
sheer hypocrisy. It was a screen for work in the Duma milieu. 
And our C.C. is to blame for his having used such a screen. 
Our Duma group is to blame for having made it easy for 
liberal writers collaborating with Tovarishch, who do not 
work in the Party and who are hostile in principle to the 
Party, to enter our Party by the back door, making use 
of the Duma. 

Cherevanin has here defended the policy of the Duma 
group; granted the Cadets are backward at present, that 
they are reactionary at present, he says. But that is not for 
ever. There is no need to regard it as permanent. The Cadets 
are no good in a period of decline, but they may be of use 
during a period of upsurge when they will rapidly swing to 
the Left. 

This is the usual Menshevik line of reasoning, only ex- 
pressed with particular directness and sharpness. As a result, 
its falsity becomes more obvious. Take two major land- 
marks of the revolution — October 1905, when the peak 
was reached, and the spring of 1907, the period of greatest 



decline. Were the Cadets of any use to democracy in 1905? 
No. The Mensheviks themselves admitted this in Nachalo. 
Witte is an agent of the stock exchange, and Struve is 
Witte's agent — that is what the Mensheviks wrote at the 
time, and correctly so. At that time the Mensheviks agreed 
with us that we should not support the Cadets, but expose 
them and lower their prestige among the democrats. 

Now, in the spring of 1907, once again you are all beginning 
to agree with us that the Cadets are worthless democrats: 
And so it seems that the Cadets are no good either in the 
period of upsurge or in the period of decline. Any historian 
would call the interval between these periods a period of 
wavering, when even a section of the Social-Democratic 
movement veered towards a petty-bourgeois policy, when 
that section, vainly endeavouring to "support" the Cadets, 
brought nothing but harm to the workers' party, and in 
the end realised its mistake. 

A few words about Trotsky. He spoke on behalf of the 
"Centre", and expressed the views of the Bund. He fulminated 
against us for introducing our "unacceptable" resolution. 
He threatened an outright split, the withdrawal of the Duma 
group, which is supposedly offended by our resolution. I 
emphasise these words. I urge you to reread our resolution 

Is it not monstrous to see something offensive in a calm 
acknowledgement of mistakes, unaccompanied by any 
sharply expressed censure, to speak of a split in connection 
with it? Does this not show the sickness in our Party, a 
fear of admitting mistakes, a fear of criticising the Duma 

The very possibility that the question can be presented 
in this way shows that there is something non-partisan 
in our Party. This non-partisan something is the Duma group's 
relations with the Party. The Duma group must be more of 
a Party group, must have closer connections with the Party, 
must be more subordinate to all proletarian work. Then 
wailings about insults and threats of a split will disappear. 

When Trotsky stated: "Your unacceptable resolution 
prevents your right ideas being put into effect," I called 
out to him: "Give us your resolution!" Trotsky replied: "No, 
first withdraw yours." 



A fine position indeed for the "Centre" to take, isn't it? 
Because of our (in Trotsky's opinion) mistake ("tactless- 
ness"), he punishes the whole Party, depriving it of his 
"tactful" exposition of the very same principles! Why did 
you not get your resolution passed, we shall be asked in the 
localities. Because the Centre took umbrage at it, and in 
a huff refused to set forth its own principles! (Applause 
from the Bolsheviks and part of the Centre.) That is a position 
based not on principle, but on the Centre's lack of principle. 

We came to the Congress with two tactical lines which 
have long been known to the Party. It would be stupid and 
unworthy of a workers' party to cover up differences of opin- 
ion and conceal them. We must compare the two points 
of view more clearly. We must express them in their ap- 
plication to all questions of our policy. We must sum up 
our Party experience clearly. Only in this way shall we 
be doing our duty and put an end to vacillation in the 
policy of the proletariat. (Applause from the Bolsheviks 
and part of the Centre.) 





Comrade Martov, quoting from the interview I gave 
L'Humanite (signed Etienne Avenard),* has interpreted 
several passages incorrectly. 

The interview said that the C.C. (its Menshevik part, of 
course) secretly and stealthily gave information to the Cadets. 
This statement of mine has now been confirmed by the dis- 
cussions at the Congress. It has transpired at this Congress 
that, as far back as November 1906, Dan went privately to 
Milyukov and "took tea" with him, Nabokov, and leaders 
of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Popular Socialists. 
Dan did not consider it necessary to report this either to 
the C.C. or to the St. Petersburg Committee. 

It was this meeting with the Cadets, which was not re- 
ported either to the C.C. or to the St. Petersburg Committee, 
that constituted secretly and stealthily giving information 
to the Cadets. 

Further, the interview states that the Mensheviks did 
not reject the Cadets' disgraceful proposal to give the work- 
ers' seats to the Mensheviks in exchange for Menshevik 
assistance to the Cadets. Comrade Martov points out that 
the Mensheviks rejected this verbally. I assert that the 
Mensheviks' deeds contradicted their verbal rejection; (1) 
verbally the Mensheviks promised to give all the seats to 
the worker curia. Actually, when all the workers' delegates, 
in a body, called on the Mensheviks (by a majority of 220- 
230 votes against 10-20) to abandon their "covert support" 
of the Cadets, the Mensheviks refused to obey them; 

See pp. 145-51 of this volume.— Ed. 



(2) after January 25, after the conclusion of the Left bloc, 
the Mensheviks stated in print the condition on which they 
would assist it — freedom of action for the Menshevik elec- 
tors at the second stage of the elections. Objectively, this 
condition could mean only one thing — their readiness to 
support the Cadets against the Social-Democrats at the 
second stage. 

N. Lenin 




STATEMENT OF MAY 11 (24) 183 

The bureau was right (Voice: "Of course it was!") when it 
explained that it was impermissible to revoke yesterday's 
decision. In order to revoke it, there must be a special 
decision of the Congress with regard to the permissibility 
of putting such a proposal to the vote. In the present case 
no one proposed revoking yesterday's decision. It still 
remains in force. Is deferment permissible? Abramovich 
lost sight of the most important thing, namely, that the 
question of tabling the decision was the result of new cir- 
cumstances (the motive given by the Latvians), which arose 
after yesterday's voting on the directives. This is the new 
motive which Abramovich failed to take into account. 
Hence Werner's proposal is formally correct. 




MAY 12 (25) 

The question of our attitude to the bourgeois parties 
is the nub of the differences in matters of principle that 
have long divided Russian Social-Democracy into two 
camps. Even before the first major successes of the revo- 
lution, or even before the revolution — if it is permissible 
to express oneself in this way about the first half of 1905 — 
two distinct points of view on this question already existed. 
The disputes were over the appraisal of the bourgeois 
revolution in Russia. The two trends in the Social-Democ- 
racy agreed that this revolution was a bourgeois revolu- 
tion. But they parted company in their understanding of 
this category, and in their appraisal of the practical and 
political conclusions to be drawn from it. One wing of 
the Social-Democracy — the Mensheviks — interpreted this 
concept to mean that the bourgeoisie was the motive force 
in the bourgeois revolution, and that the proletariat could 
occupy only the position of the "extreme opposition". 
The proletariat could not undertake the task of conducting 
the revolution independently or of leading it. These differ- 
ences of opinion stood out in particularly high relief during 
the disputes on the question of a provisional government 
(to be more exact, whether the Social-Democrats should 
participate in a provisional government) — disputes which 
raged in 1905. The Mensheviks denied that the Social- 
Democrats could be permitted to participate in a provisional 
revolutionary government, primarily because they con- 
sidered the bourgeoisie the motive force or leader in the 



bourgeois revolution. This view found most clear expression 
in the resolution of the Caucasian Mensheviks (1905), 184 
approved by the new Iskra. This resolution stated forth- 
right that Social-Democratic participation in a provisional 
government might frighten the bourgeoisie away, and 
thereby reduce the scope of the revolution. We have here 
a clear admission that the proletariat cannot and should 
not go further than the bourgeoisie in the bourgeois revo- 

The Bolsheviks held the opposite view. They maintained 
unequivocally that in its social and economic content our 
revolution was a bourgeois revolution. This means that 
the aims of the revolution that is now taking place in 
Russia do not exceed the bounds of bourgeois society. Even 
the fullest possible victory of the present revolution — 
in other words, the achievement of the most democratic 
republic possible, and the confiscation of all landed estates 
by the peasantry — would not in any way affect the founda- 
tions of the bourgeois social system. Private ownership 
of the means of production (or private farming on the 
land, irrespective of its juridical owner) and commodity 
economy will remain. The contradictions of capitalist 
society — and the most important of them is the contradic- 
tion between wage-labour and capital — will not only remain, 
but become even more acute and profound, developing 
in a more extensive and purer form. 

All this should be absolutely beyond doubt to any Marx- 
ist. But from this it does not at all follow that the bour- 
geoisie is the motive force or leader in the revolution. 
Such a conclusion would be a vulgarisation of Marxism, 
would be a failure to understand the class struggle between 
the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The fact of the matter 
is that our revolution is taking place at a time when the 
proletariat has already begun to recognise itself as a dis- 
tinct class and to unite in an independent, class organisa- 
tion. Under such circumstances the proletariat makes use 
of all the achievements of democracy, makes use of every 
step towards freedom, to strengthen its class organisation 
against the bourgeoisie. Hence the inevitable endeavour 
of the bourgeoisie to smooth off the sharp corners of the 
revolution, not to allow it to reach its culmination, not to 



give the proletariat the opportunity of carrying on its class 
struggle unhampered. The antagonism between the bour- 
geoisie and the proletariat forces the bourgeoisie to strive to 
preserve certain instruments and institutions of the old 
regime in order to use them against the proletariat. 

At the very best, therefore, the bourgeoisie, in the period 
of greatest revolutionary upsurge, still constitutes an ele- 
ment that wavers between revolution and reaction (and 
does not do so fortuitously, but of necessity, by force of its 
economic interests). Hence the bourgeoisie cannot be the 
leader in our revolution. 

The major distinguishing feature of this revolution is 
the acuteness of the agrarian question. It is much more 
acute in Russia than in any other country in similar 
conditions. The so-called peasant reform of 1861 was carried 
out so inconsistently and so undemocratically that the prin- 
cipal foundations of feudal landlord domination remained 
unshaken. For this reason, the agrarian question, that is, 
the struggle of the peasants against the landowners for the 
land, proved one of the touchstones of the present revolu- 
tion. This struggle for the land inevitably forces enormous 
masses of the peasantry into the democratic revolution, for 
only democracy can give them land by giving them suprem- 
acy in the state. The victory of the peasantry presupposes 
the complete destruction of landlordism. 

Such an alignment of social forces inevitably leads to the 
conclusion that the bourgeoisie can be neither the motive 
force nor the leader in the revolution. Only the proletariat 
is capable of consummating the revolution, that is, of 
achieving a complete victory. But this victory can be achieved 
only provided the proletariat succeeds in getting a large 
section of the peasantry to follow its lead. The victory of 
the present revolution in Russia is possible only as the 
revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and 
the peasantry. 

The correctness of this presentation of the question, which 
dates back to the beginning of 1905 — I am referring to the 
Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. in the spring of 1905— 
found full confirmation in events at all the most important 
stages of the Russian revolution. Our theoretical conclu- 
sions were confirmed in practice in the course of the revo- 



lutionary struggle. In October 1905, at the very height of 
the revolution, the proletariat was at the head, the bour- 
geoisie wavered and vacillated, and the peasantry wrecked 
the landed estates. In all the embryonic organs of revolu- 
tionary power (the Soviets of Workers' Deputies, the Soviets 
of Peasants' and Soldiers' Deputies, etc.) representatives 
of the proletariat were the main participants, followed 
by the most advanced of the insurgent peasantry. At the 
time of the First Duma, the peasants immediately formed a 
democratic "Trudovik" group, which was more to the Left, 
in other words, more revolutionary, than the liberals — the 
Cadets. In the elections to the Second Duma, the peasants 
defeated the liberals outright. The proletariat marched 
ahead, the peasantry more or less resolutely following it 
against the autocracy and against the vacillating liberals. 

I shall now pass to the draft resolutions we have before 
us. The difference in points of view I have described is fully 
reflected in the antithesis between the Bolshevik and Men- 
shevik resolutions. The Bolshevik draft is based on a defi- 
nition of the class content of the principal types of bourgeois 
parties. We drew up our resolution in the same way for the 
Unity Congress in Stockholm. There we noted three princi- 
pal types of bourgeois parties: the Octobrists, the liberals 
and the peasant democrats (at that time they were not yet 
fully delineated, and the word "Trudovik" did not exist in the 
Russian political vocabulary). Our resolution of today 
retains that same structure. It is simply a modification of the 
Stockholm resolution. The course of events has confirmed 
its basic postulates to such an extent that only very small 
changes were required for due consideration to be paid to 
experience acquired in the First and Second Dumas. 

The Menshevik resolution for the Unity Congress gave 
no analysis whatever either of types of parties or their 
class content. The resolution states helplessly that "bour- 
geois-democratic parties are only just forming in Russia 
and therefore have not yet had the time to acquire the 
character of stable parties", and that "at the present historical 
moment in Russia there are no parties in existence that could 
simultaneously blend within themselves a consistent 
democracy and a revolutionary character". Is this not a 
helpless declaration? Is this not a deviation from Marxist 



tasks? Outside the ranks of the proletariat there will never 
be absolute stability of parties or fully "consistent" democ- 
racy. It is, however, our duty to lay bare the class roots 
of all parties that appear on the historical scene. And our 
resolution shows that this is something quite feasible. The 
three types of parties outlined in this resolution have proved 
sufficiently "stable" throughout a whole year of revolution, 
as I have already shown by the example of the First and 
Second Dumas. 

What has proved unstable is the views of the Mensheviks. 
Their present resolution is a tremendous step backward in 
comparison with their draft of last year. Let us examine 
this resolution, which was published in Narodnaya Duma, 
No. 12 (March 24, 1907). The preamble to this resolution 
points first to a "number of tasks common" to the proletariat 
and to bourgeois democracy; secondly, it says that the prole- 
tariat must "combine its activities with those of other social 
classes and groups"; thirdly, it says that in a country where 
the peasantry predominates and urban democracy is weak, 
the proletariat "by its own movement impels forward" ... 
"the entire bourgeois democracy of the country"; fourthly, 
"that the democratic movement of the country has not yet 
found its ultimate expression in the present grouping of 
bourgeois parties", which reflects the "realism" and unpre- 
paredness to fight on the part of the urban bourgeoisie at 
one extreme, and at the other, peasant "illusions of petty- 
bourgeois revolutionism and agrarian Utopias". Such is 
the preamble. Now let us look at the conclusions; the first 
conclusion is that, while pursuing an independent policy, 
the proletariat must fight both against the opportunism and 
constitutional illusions of the one, and the revolutionary 
illusions and reactionary economic projects of the other. 
The second conclusion is that it is necessary to "combine 
our activities with the activities of the other parties". 

A resolution like this does not answer any one of the ques- 
tions that every Marxist is obliged to ask himself, if he wants 
to define the attitude of the workers' party to the bourgeois 
parties. What are these general questions? First of all, it 
is necessary to define the class nature of the parties. Then 
it is necessary to make clear to oneself the basic alignment 
of the various classes in the present revolution in general, 



that is, in what relation the interests of these classes stand 
to the continuation or development of the revolution. Fur- 
ther, it is necessary to pass over from classes in general to 
the present-day role of the various parties, or various groups 
of parties. Finally, it is necessary to furnish practical di- 
rectives concerning the policy of the workers' party on this 

There is nothing of this in the Menshevik resolution. It 
is simply an evasion of these questions, evasion by means 
of general phrase-mongering about "combining" the policy 
of the proletariat with the policy of the bourgeoisie. Not 
a word is said about how to "combine", and with precisely 
which bourgeois-democratic parties. This is a resolution 
about parties, but without parties. This is a resolution to 
define our attitude, which does nothing to define our attitude 
towards the various parties. It is impossible to take such 
a resolution as a guide, for it provides the greatest freedom 
to "combine" anything you like and in any way you like. 
Such a resolution does not restrict anyone; it is a most 
"liberal" resolution in the fullest sense of that word. It can 
be interpreted backwards and forwards. But of Marxism — 
not a grain. The fundamental propositions of Marxism have 
been so thoroughly forgotten here that any Left Cadet could 
have subscribed to such a resolution. Take its main points — 
"tasks in common" for the proletariat and bourgeois democ- 
racy — is that not the very thing the entire liberal press is 
vociferating about?... The need to "combine" — the very 
thing the Cadets are demanding.... The struggle against 
opportunism on the Right and revolutionism on the Left — 
but that is the pet slogan of the Left Cadets, who say they 
want to sit between the Trudoviks and bourgeois liberals! 
This is not the position of a workers' panty distinct from and 
independent of bourgeois democracy; it is the position of 
a liberal who wants to occupy the "centre" in the midst 
of the bourgeois democrats. 

Let us examine the gist of the Mensheviks' proposition: 
by its own movement the proletariat "impels forward" "the 
entire bourgeois democracy of the country". Is this true? 
Absolutely not. Just recall the major events in our revolu- 
tion. Take the Bulygin Duma. In reply to the tsar's appeal 
to take the legal path, to adopt his, the tsar's, conditions 



for convening the first popular representative body, the pro- 
letariat answered with a resolute refusal. The proletariat 
called on the people to wipe out this institution, to prevent 
its birth. The proletariat called on all the revolutionary 
classes to fight for better conditions for the convocation of a 
popular representative body. This in no way ruled out the 
question of utilising even bad institutions if they actually 
came into being despite all our efforts. This was a fight 
against allowing the implementation of worse conditions 
for convening a popular representative body. In appraising 
the boycott, the logical and historical mistake is often made 
of confusing the fight on the basis of the given institution, 
with the fight against the establishment of that institution. 

What reply did the liberal bourgeoisie make to the prole- 
tariat's appeal? It replied with a general outcry against the 
boycott. It invited us to the Bulygin Duma. The liberal 
professors urged the students to go on with their studies, 
instead of organising strikes. In reply to the proletariat's 
appeal to fight, the bourgeoisie answered by fighting against 
the proletariat. As far back as that, the antagonism between 
these classes, even in a democratic revolution, manifested 
itself fully and definitely. The bourgeoisie wanted to narrow 
the scope of the proletariat's struggle, to prevent it going 
beyond the bounds of the convocation of the Bulygin Duma. 

Professor Vinogradov, the shining light of liberal science, 
wrote just at that time: "It would be the good fortune of 
Russia if our revolution proceeded along the road of 1848-49, 
and its misfortune if it proceeded along the road taken by 
the revolution of 1789-93." What this "democrat" called 
good fortune was the road of an unconsummated revolution, 
the road of a defeated uprising! If our revolution were to deal 
as ruthlessly with its enemies as the French revolution did 
in 1793, then, according to this "liberal", it would be neces- 
sary to call upon the Prussian drill sergeant to re-establish 
law and order. The Mensheviks say that our bourgeoisie are 
"unprepared to fight". Actually, however, the bourgeoisie were 
prepared to fight, prepared to fight against the proletariat, 
to fight against the "excessive" victories of the revolution. 

To proceed. Take October to December 1905. There is 
no need to prove that during this period of the high tide 
of our revolution, the bourgeoisie displayed "preparedness 



to fight" against the proletariat. This was fully acknowl- 
edged by the Menshevik press of that day. The bourgeoisie, 
including the Cadets, tried in every way to denigrate the 
revolution, to picture it as blind and savage anarchy. The 
bourgeoisie not only failed to support the organs of in- 
surrection set up by the people — all the various Soviets of 
Workers' Deputies, Soviets of Peasants' and Soldiers' Depu- 
ties, etc. — but it feared these institutions and fought against 
them. Call to mind Struve, who termed these institutions 
a degrading spectacle. In them the bourgeoisie saw a revo- 
lution that had gone too far ahead. The liberal bourgeoisie 
wanted to divert the energy of the popular revolutionary 
struggle into the narrow channel of police-controlled con- 
stitutional reaction. 

There is no need to dwell at length on the behaviour of 
the liberals in the First and the Second Dumas. Even the 
Mensheviks acknowledged that, in the First Duma, the 
Cadets hindered the revolutionary policy of the Social- 
Democrats and, to some extent, of the Trudoviks, that they 
hampered their activity. And in the Second Duma the 
Cadets openly joined up with the Black Hundreds, gave 
outright support to the government. 

To say at present that the movement of the proletariat 
"impels the entire bourgeois democracy of the country forward" 
means scorning facts. To maintain silence at the present time 
about the counter-revolutionary nature of our bourgeoisie 
means departing entirely from the Marxist point of view, 
means completely forgetting the viewpoint of the class struggle. 

In their resolution, the Mensheviks speak of the "realism" 
of the urban bourgeois classes. Strange terminology this, 
which betrays them, against their will. We are accustomed 
to seeing a special meaning attached to the word realism, 
among the Right-wing Social-Democrats. For instance, 
Plekhanov's Sovremennaya Zhizn contrasted the "realism" 
of the Right Social-Democrats with the "revolutionary ro- 
manticism" of the Left, Social-Democrats. What then does 
the Menshevik resolution have in view when it speaks of 
realism? It appears that the resolution praises the bour- 
geoisie for its moderation and punctiliousness! 

These arguments of the Mensheviks about the "realism" 
of the bourgeoisie, about its "unpreparedness" to fight — 



taken in conjunction with the open declaration of their 
tactical platform on the "one-sided hostility" of the Social- 
Democrats towards the liberals — speak of one thing, and 
of one thing only. In point of fact, it all means that the 
independent policy of the workers' party is replaced by a 
policy of dependence on the liberal bourgeoisie. And this, 
the substance of Menshevism, is not something that we have 
invented or have drawn solely from their theoretical argu- 
ments — it has manifested itself in all the major steps of 
their policy throughout the past year. Take the "responsible 
ministry", blocs with the Cadets, voting for Golovin, etc. 
This is what has actually constituted the policy of depend- 
ence on the liberals. 

And what do the Mensheviks say about peasant democra- 
cy? The resolution puts the "realism" of the bourgeoisie 
and the "agrarian Utopias" of the peasantry on a par, off- 
setting the one by the other as being of equal significance 
or at any rate wholly analogous. We must fight, say the 
Mensheviks, equally against the opportunism of the bour- 
geoisie and against the utopianism, the "petty-bourgeois 
revolutionism", of the peasantry. This is typical of the 
Menshevik line of reasoning. And it is worth while dwelling 
on this, for it is radically wrong. From it inevitably ensue 
a number of mistaken conclusions in practical policy. This 
criticism of peasant Utopias harbours a lack of understand- 
ing of the proletariat's task — to urge the peasantry on- 
ward to complete victory in the democratic revolution. 

Just look carefully at what is behind the agrarian Utopias 
of the peasantry in the present revolution. What is their 
main utopia? Undoubtedly, it is the idea of equalitarianism, 
the conviction that the abolition of the private property 
in land and the equal division of the land (or of land 
tenure) are able to destroy the roots of want, poverty, unem- 
ployment and exploitation. 

No one disputes the fact that, from the point of view of 
socialism, this is a utopia, a utopia of the petty bourgeois. 
From the point of view of socialism, this is a reactionary 
prejudice, for proletarian socialism sees its ideal, not in 
the equality of small proprietors, but in large-scale socialised 
production. But do not forget that what we are now ap- 
praising is the significance of the peasants' ideals, not in the 



socialist movement, but in the present, bourgeois-democrat- 
ic revolution. Can we say that it is Utopian or reactionary 
in the present revolution for all the land to be taken away 
from the landlords and be handed over to, or divided up 
equally among, the peasants?! No! Not only is this non- 
reactionary, but, on the contrary, it reflects most conclu- 
sively and most consistently the desire for the most thorough 
abolition of the entire old regime, of all the remnants of 
serfdom. The idea that "equality" can exist under commodity 
production and even serve as a foundation for semi-social- 
ism is Utopian. The peasants' desire to take the land away 
from the landlords at once and divide it up on an equalitarian 
basis is not Utopian, but revolutionary in the fullest, strict- 
est, scientific meaning of the word. Such confiscation and 
such division would lay the foundation for the speediest, 
broadest and freest development of capitalism. 

Speaking objectively, from the point of view not of our 
desires, but of the present economic development of Russia, 
the basic question of our revolution is whether it will secure 
the development of capitalism through the peasants' com- 
plete victory over the landowners or through the landown- 
ers' victory over the peasants. A bourgeois-democratic 
revolution in Russia's economy is absolutely inevitable. No 
power on earth can hinder it. But this revolution is possible 
in either of two ways: in the Prussian, if one might say so, 
or in the American way. This means the following; the land- 
lords may win, may foist compensation payments or other 
petty concessions on the peasants, may unite with a handful 
of the wealthy, pauperise the masses, and convert their own 
farms into Junker-type, capitalist, farms. Such a revolution 
will be bourgeois-democratic but it will be to the least 
advantage of the peasants — to their least advantage from 
the angle of the rapidity of capitalist development. Or, 
on the contrary, the complete victory of the peasant upris- 
ing, the confiscation of all landed estates and their equal 
division will signify the most rapid development of capital- 
ism, the form of bourgeois-democratic revolution most 
advantageous to the peasants. 

Nor is this most advantageous to the peasants alone. 
It is just as advantageous to the proletariat. The class- 
conscious proletariat knows that there is, and there can 



be, no path leading to socialism otherwise than through 
a bourgeois-democratic revolution. 

Hence the more incomplete and irresolute this revolu- 
tion, the longer and the more heavily will general democrat- 
ic tasks, and not socialist, not purely class, proletarian 
tasks, weigh upon the proletariat. The more complete the 
victory of the peasantry, the sooner will the proletariat 
stand out as a distinct class, and the more clearly will it 
put forward its purely socialist tasks and aims. 

From this, you see that the peasants' ideas on equality, 
reactionary and Utopian from the standpoint of socialism, are 
revolutionary from the standpoint of bourgeois democracy. 
That is why the equating of the liberals' reactionary nature 
in the present revolution and the reactionary utopianism of 
the peasants in their ideas of the socialist revolution is a 
glaring logical and historical error. To put on a par the 
liberals' endeavours to cut the present revolution off short 
at compensation for land, a constitutional monarchy, at the 
level of the Cadet agrarian programme, etc., and the peasants' 
attempts at Utopian idealisation, in a reactionary spirit, 
of their endeavours to crush the landlords immediately, to 
confiscate all the land, to divide it all up — to attempt to 
equate these things is to abandon completely, not only the 
standpoint of the proletariat, but also the standpoint of 
a consistent revolutionary democrat. To write a resolution on 
the struggle against liberal opportunism and muzhik revolu- 
tionism in the present revolution is to write a resolution 
that is not Social-Democratic. This is not a Social-Demo- 
crat writing, but an intellectual who sits between the lib- 
eral and the muzhik in the camp of bourgeois democracy. 

I cannot deal here in as great detail as I should on the fa- 
mous tactical platform of the Mensheviks with their much 
vaunted slogan of struggle against the "one-sided hostility 
of the proletariat towards liberalism". The non-Marxist and 
non-proletarian nature of such a slogan is more than obvious. 

In conclusion, I shall deal with a frequent objection that 
is raised against us. In the majority of cases, we are told, 
"your" Trudoviks follow the Cadets against us. That is true, 
but it is no objection against our point of view and our 
resolution, since we have quite definitely and outspokenly 
admitted it. 



The Trudoviks are definitely not fully consistent demo- 
crats. The Trudoviks (including the Socialist-Revolution- 
aries) undoubtedly vacillate between the liberals and the 
revolutionary proletariat. We have said this, and it had to 
be said. Such vacillation is by no means fortuitous. It is 
an inevitable consequence of the very nature of the economic 
condition of the small producer. On the one hand, he is 
oppressed and subject to exploitation. He is unconsciously 
impelled into the fight against this position, into the fight 
for democracy, for the ideas of abolishing exploitation. On 
the other hand, he is a petty proprietor. In the peasant lives 
the instinct of a proprietor — if not of today, then of tomor- 
row. It is the proprietor's, the owner's instinct that repels 
the peasant from the proletariat, engendering in him an 
aspiration to become someone in the world, to become a 
bourgeois, to hem himself in against all society on his own 
plot of land, on his own dung-heap, as Marx irately re- 
marked. 185 

Vacillation in the peasantry and the peasant democratic 
parties is inevitable. And the Social-Democratic Party, 
therefore, must not for a moment be embarrassed at the fear 
of isolating itself from such vacillation. Every time the 
Trudoviks display lack of courage, and drag along in the 
wake of the liberals, we must fearlessly and quite firmly 
oppose the Trudoviks, expose and castigate their petty- 
bourgeois inconsistency and flaccidit. 

Our revolution is passing through difficult times. We 
need all the will-power, all the endurance and fortitude 
of the organised proletarian party, in order to be capable 
of resisting sentiments of distrust, despondency, indifference, 
and denial of the struggle. The petty bourgeoisie will always 
and inevitably succumb most easily to such sentiments, 
display irresolution, betray the revolutionary path, whine 
and repent. And in all such cases, the workers' party will 
isolate itself from the vacillating petty-bourgeois democrats. 
In all such cases we must be able to unmask the irresolute 
democrats openly, even from the Duma platform. "Peasants!" 
we must say in the Duma in such circumstances, "peasants! 
You should know that your representatives are betraying 
you by following in the wake of the liberal landlords. Your 
Duma deputies are betraying the cause of the peasantry to 



the liberal windbags and advocates." Let the peasants know — 
we must demonstrate this to them by facts — that only the 
workers' party is the genuinely reliable and thoroughly 
faithful defender of the interests, not only of socialism but 
also of democracy, not only of all working and exploited 
people, but also of the entire peasant masses, who are fighting 
against feudal exploitation. 

If we pursue this policy persistently and undeviatingly, 
we shall derive from our revolution enormous material for 
the class development of the proletariat; we shall achieve 
this under all circumstances, whatever vicissitudes may be 
in store for us, whatever setbacks for the revolution (under 
particularly unfavourable circumstances) may fall to our 
lot. A firm proletarian policy will give the entire working 
class such a wealth of ideas, such clarity of understanding 
and such endurance in the struggle that no one on earth 
will be able to win them away from Social-Democracy. 
Even if the revolution suffers defeat, the proletariat will 
learn, first and foremost, to understand the economic class 
foundations of both the liberal and the democratic parties; 
then it will learn to hate the bourgeoisie's treacheries and 
to despise the petty bourgeoisie's infirmity of purpose and 
its vacillations. 

And it is only with such a fund of knowledge, with such 
habits of thinking, that the proletariat will be able to 
approach the new, the socialist revolution more unit- 
edly and more boldly. (Applause from the Bolsheviks and 
the Centre.) 




MAY 14 (27) 

I shall begin with the question of the stand taken by the 
Polish delegation, which has been touched on here. The 
Polish comrades were accused — particularly by the Bund- 
ists — of being inconsistent in agreeing to our resolution, 
having themselves declared it unsatisfactory at the commis- 
sion. Such accusations are founded on a very simple sub- 
terfuge — an evasion of the substance of those questions that 
confront the Congress on the given item of the agenda. Those 
who do not want to evade any discussion on the substance 
of the question will easily see that we Bolsheviks have al- 
ways seen eye to eye with the Poles on two fundamental 
questions. First of all we agree on the fact that, for the sake 
of its socialist tasks, the proletariat must categorically re- 
tain its class individuality with respect to all the other 
(bourgeois) parties, however revolutionary they may be, 
however democratic the republic they advocate. Secondly, 
we agree that it is the right and duty of the workers' party 
to assume leadership of the petty-bourgeois democratic 
parties, including the peasant parties, not only in the strug- 
gle against the autocracy, but also against the treacherous 
liberal bourgeoisie. 

In the resolution on the report of the Social-Democratic 
group in the Duma, which the Polish comrades have presented 
to the Congress, these ideas and propositions are expressed 
with the utmost clarity. The resolution speaks forthrightly 
of the need for Social-Democracy to preserve its class char- 
acter distinct from all other parties, down to the Socialist 



Revolutionaries. It speaks openly of the possibility and 
necessity of joint action by the Social-Democrats and the 
Trudovik groups against the liberals. This is what we in 
Russia call a Left bloc, or a Left bloc policy. 

From this it is clear that we are united with the Poles 
by genuine solidarity on the fundamental points in the 
question of the attitude towards bourgeois parties. To deny 
this or to speak of the contradictory behaviour of the Poles 
would be to evade a straightforward presentation of differ- 
ences of opinion in principle. 

The socialist aims of the proletariat keep it distinct from 
all parties, even the most revolutionary and republican; 
then there is the proletariat's leadership in the struggle of 
all revolutionary democrats in the present revolution — can 
it be denied that these are the fundamental and guiding 
ideas in both the Polish and Bolshevik resolutions? 

A few words about Trotsky. I have no time to dwell 
here on our differences with him. I shall only note that 
in his book In Defence of the Party Trotsky expressed, in 
print, his solidarity with Kautsky, who wrote about the 
economic community of interests between the proletariat 
and the peasantry in the present revolution in Russia. 
Trotsky acknowledged the permissibility and usefulness 
of a Left bloc against the liberal bourgeoisie. These facts 
are sufficient for me to acknowledge that Trotsky has come 
closer to our views. Quite apart from the question of "unin- 
terrupted revolution", we have here solidarity on fundamen- 
tal points in the question of the attitude towards bourgeois 

Comrade Lieber has most energetically accused me of 
excluding even the Trudoviks from the bourgeois-democratic 
allies of the proletariat. Lieber has again been carried away 
by phrases, and has paid insufficient attention to the sub- 
stance of the dispute. I did not speak of excluding joint 
action with the Trudoviks, but of the need to cut ourselves 
off from the Trudoviks' vacillation. We must not fear to 
"isolate" ourselves from them when they are inclined to drag 
along in the wake of the Cadets. We must ruthlessly expose 
the Trudoviks when they fail to take the consistent stand 
of revolutionary democrats. One of two things, Comrade 
Lieber — either the workers' party will pursue a genuinely 



independent proletarian policy, in which case we allow of 
joint action with part of the bourgeoisie only when it, 
this section, accepts our policy, and not vice versa; or our 
talk about the independence of the proletariat's class struggle 
remains nothing but idle talk. 

Like Lieber, Plekhanov too evaded the substance of the 
dispute, only in another way. Plekhanov spoke about Rosa 
Luxemburg, picturing her as a Madonna reclining on clouds. 
What could be finer! Elegant, gallant and effective polem- 
ics.... But I would nevertheless like to ask Plekhanov: 
Madonna or not, — but what do you think about the sub- 
stance of the question? (Applause from the Centre and the 
Bolsheviks.) After all, it is a pretty bad thing to have to 
resort to a Madonna in order to avoid analysing the 
point at issue. Madonna or not — what must our attitude be 
towards "a Duma with full powers"? What is this? Does this 
resemble Marxism, does it resemble the independent policy 
of the proletariat? 

"Agreements from occasion to occasion", both Lieber 
and Plekhanov reiterate to us in all sorts of ways. An ex- 
tremely convenient formula this, but utterly lacking in 
principle. It is absolutely devoid of content. After all, 
comrades, we too permit of agreements with the Trudoviks 
under certain conditions and also only from occasion to 
occasion, absolutely from occasion to occasion. We shall 
willingly include these words in our resolution as well. 

But that is not the question. The question is what joint 
actions are permissible from occasion to occasion, with 
whom, and for what purposes! Both Plekhanov, with his 
gallant witticisms, and Lieber with his empty pathetics, 
have slurred over and obscured these significant questions. 
And this question is not a theoretical one, but an extremely 
vital and practical issue. We have seen from experience 
what the famous agreements from occasion to occasion, 
the famous "technical" agreements, mean among the Men- 
sheviks! They mean a policy of the dependence of the working 
class on the liberals, and nothing else. "From occasion to 
occasion" is a poor cloak for this opportunist policy. 

Plekhanov quoted passages from the works of Marx, 
on the need to support the bourgeoisie. It is a pity that he 
did not quote from the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. A pity that 



he forgot how Marx "supported" the liberals during the period 
when the bourgeois revolution in Germany was at its height. 
Nor is it necessary to go so far to prove something that is 
indisputable. The old Iskra, too, frequently spoke of the 
necessity for the Social-Democratic Labour Party to support 
the liberals — even the Marshals of the Nobility. In the period 
preceding the bourgeois revolution, when Social-Democracy 
still had to rouse the people to political life, this was quite 
legitimate. Today, when various classes have already ap- 
peared on the scene, when, on the one hand, a peasant revo- 
lutionary movement has revealed itself, and there have been 
liberal betrayals on the other — today there can be no question 
of our supporting the liberals. We are all agreed that the 
Social-Democrats must now demand the confiscation of 
landed estates. And what is the attitude of the liberals 
towards this? 

Plekhanov said: all classes that are in the least progres- 
sive must become tools in the hands of the proletariat. I 
do not doubt that this is Plekhanov's desire. But I assert 
that in practice the Menshevik policy leads; not to this, 
but to something quite different. In every case during the 
past year, when the Mensheviks were supposedly supporting 
the Cadets, the Mensheviks themselves were actually tools 
in the hands of the Cadets. The same was true of the support 
for the demand for a Duma ministry and at the time of the 
election blocs with the Cadets. Experience has shown that 
in these cases the proletariat proved to be the tool, despite 
the "desires" of Plekhanov and other Mensheviks. This is 
quite apart from the "Duma with full powers" and the voting 
for Golovin. 

We must realise in all seriousness that the liberal bour- 
geoisie has entered upon the counter-revolutionary path, 
and we must struggle against them. Only then will the policy 
of the workers' party become an independent revolutionary 
policy, not one in word alone. Only then shall we systemati- 
cally exert our influence on both the petty bourgeoisie and 
the peasantry, who are hesitating between liberalism and 
revolutionary struggle. 

There was no point to the complaint made here about the 
incorrectness of our thesis on the liberals' deception of the 
petty bourgeoisie. Not only our revolution, but the expe- 



rience of other countries, too, has shown that it is by deceit 
that liberalism maintains its influence in many sections 
of the population. It is our plain duty to fight to free those 
sections from the influence of the liberals. In the course of 
decades the German Social-Democratic Party has fought 
to destroy — and has destroyed, in Berlin, for instance — the 
liberals' influence on broad sections of the population. We 
can and must achieve the same, and deprive the Cadets of 
their democratic adherents. 

Let me give you an example of what the Menshevik policy 
of supporting the Cadets has led to. In the Menshevik news- 
paper Russkaya Zhizn of February 22, 1907 (No. 45), an 
unsigned, that is, an editorial, article said the following about 
Golovin's election and his speech: "The Chairman of the 
State Duma has undertaken a great and responsible task — to 
say such words as will embody the principal demands 
and needs of our 140 million people.... Not for a moment 
could Mr. Golovin rise above the level of a member of the 
Cadet Party, and become the exponent of the will of the en- 
tire Duma". Don't you see how edifying this is? The Men- 
sheviks derive the responsible task of the liberal — to speak 
on behalf of the "people" — simply from their having support- 
ed him with their votes. This is just handing over ideologi- 
cal and political leadership to liberalism. This is complete 
abandonment of the class point of view. And I say: if under 
a Left bloc any Social-Democrat would dream of writing 
about the responsible task of a Trudovik to reflect the needs 
of "labour", I would whole-heartedly support the most res- 
olute censure of such a Social-Democrat. The Mensheviks 
have here an ideological bloc with the Cadets, and we must 
permit no such blocs with anyone, even with the Socialist- 

Incidentally, Martynov stated that we are descending 
to such a bloc when we speak of all the land and full freedom. 
This is not true. Let me remind you of the Menshevik Sotsial- 
Demokrat. In the draft electoral platform compiled by 
the C.C., published in that paper, we encounter the very 
same slogans of land and freedom! Martynov's words are 
mere hole-picking. 

In conclusion I would like to say a few words in regard to 
the Polish comrades. A precise characterisation of the petty- 



bourgeois parties may have seemed needless to some of 
them. Perhaps the more acute class struggle in Poland makes 
it unnecessary. But to Russian Social-Democrats it is indis- 
pensable. An exact indication of the class nature of the 
Trudovik parties is most necessary as a guide for all our 
propaganda and agitation. It is only on the basis of a class 
analysis of these parties that we can quite definitely place 
before the working class our tactical tasks — the socialist 
class distinction of the proletariat, and the struggle under 
its leadership both against the autocracy and the treacher- 
ous bourgeoisie. (Applause from the Bolsheviks and the 





MAY 15 (28) 

From the preceding speech you could see how just Com- 
rade Popov's remarks were about the fruitlessness of the 
present discussion. You have yourselves seen how thoroughly 
unprincipled Lieber's speech was. I should merely like 
to remind you that, in our abortive commission, four Men- 
sheviks, one member of the Bund, and two Poles voted against 
us and the Latvians on the question of adopting the Polish 
draft as a basis for the resolution. 

Thus the Polish draft was taken as a basis in the commis- 
sion by those people who in principle were farthest removed 
from the Poles. They did this in order to introduce into 
the draft amendments in a Menshevik spirit — in order to 
render the resolution unacceptable to its authors! Lieber 
himself voted with the Mensheviks both in this case (Lieber: 
"That is not true!") and in voting on the permissibility of 
blocs with the Cadets. After this his pathetic speeches about 
principles are simply ridiculous. 

I quite understand the Poles' trying to get their draft 
adopted as a basis. To them our resolution seemed to go into 
unnecessary details. They wanted to limit themselves to 
the two basic principles which truly unite us — (1) the class 
distinction of the proletariat from all bourgeois parties, in 
everything that concerns socialism; (2) the combination of 
joint action by Social-Democracy and petty-bourgeois 
democracy against liberal treachery. Both these ideas run 
like a scarlet thread through the Bolshevik draft as well. 



But the brevity of the Polish draft left too much room for 
Menshevik juggling. Their amendments compelled even the 
authors to vote against their own draft as a whole. And at 
the same time, neither the Mensheviks nor the Bund members 
undertook to defend the Polish draft they had thus "amended". 
The result was the collapse of the work of the entire com- 

There is now one thing left for all of us in general, and 
the Polish comrades in particular, to do — to endeavour 
to have the Bolshevik draft accepted as a basis. If un- 
acceptable amendments are made to the latter too, then 
we shall have to acknowledge that the Congress is incom- 
petent. It is, however, possible that on the basis of this 
draft, which gives a precise analysis of all the fundamental 
types of parties, we shall be able to reach a decision suf- 
ficiently definite in the spirit of revolutionary Social- 

The objection is raised against our draft that it describes 
parties in too great detail. Parties, they say, can break 
up, realign themselves — and then the entire resolution will 
be useless. 

This objection is quite groundless. It is not small groups 
or even individual parties that we describe in our resolution, 
but large groups of parties. These groups are so large that 
rapid changes in their mutual relations are far less possible 
than a complete change from revolutionary decline to 
upsurge or vice versa. Take these groups and examine them. 
A reactionary and a more or less progressive bourgeoisie 
are unvarying types in all capitalist countries. We have 
added only two more to these two unvarying types: the 
Octobrists (intermediate between the Black Hundreds and 
the liberals) and the Trudovik groups. Can these types change 
rapidly? They cannot, unless our revolution takes so radical 
a turn that we shall, in any way, be obliged to radically 
reconsider, not only our Congress resolutions, but even our 

Give thought to our programme demand for the confisca- 
tion of all landed estates. In no other country could the 
Social-Democrats ever support the confiscatory aspirations 
of the petty bourgeoisie. That would be a fraud in an ordi- 
nary capitalist country. But in our country, it is essential 



in the period of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. We 
can, therefore, be sure that fundamental questions in 
the appraisal of the Trudovik parties will not have to be 
revised any sooner than our programme demand for 

Let me furthermore point out that to avoid all misunder- 
standing and false interpretation of the Left bloc, we have 
given a precise definition of the content of the Trudovik 
parties' struggle. Actually they are not fighting against 
exploitation in general (as it seems to them), and certainly 
not against capitalist exploitation (in the way their ideolo- 
gists assert); they are fighting only against the feudal state 
and landlordism. And an exact description of this true con- 
tent of the struggle will at once put an end to all false con- 
ceptions of possible joint action by the workers' party and 
the peasantry in the struggle for socialism, in the struggle 
against capitalism. 

In our resolution we also speak clearly of the "pseudo- 
socialist nature" of the Trudovik parties, and call for a res- 
olute struggle against any glossing over of the class con- 
flict between petty proprietors and the proletariat. We 
call for an exposure of the hazy socialist ideology of the 
petty bourgeoisie. This is something that must be said about 
petty-bourgeois parties, but it is all that need be said. The 
Mensheviks are profoundly mistaken when they add to this 
the struggle against the revolutionism and the utopianism 
of the peasantry in the present revolution, which is what 
follows from their resolution. Objectively such an idea 
amounts to a call to fight against the confiscation of landed 
estates, and does so because the most influential and 
widespread ideological and political trends of liberalism 
declare that confiscation is revolutionism, utopianism, and 
so forth. It is not accidental, but inevitable, that during 
the past year the Mensheviks have wandered from such 
principles towards a renunciation in practice of support for 

We must not allow things to go so far, comrades! In one 
of his speeches Dan said jokingly: "We have poor critics 
if they criticise us mostly for what we have not done. We 
only wanted to renounce confiscation, but we have not 
renounced it!" 



To this I should like to reply — if you had done so we would 
not now be a united party. We must not let things go so far 
as such renunciations. If we permit even the shadow of an 
idea of such a policy we shall be shaking all the revolution- 
ary foundations of the independent class struggle of the 
proletariat in a bourgeois-democratic revolution. (Applause 
from the Bolsheviks, Poles and Latvians.) 




MAY 15-16 (28-29) 186 


Two points are important here. They must not be deleted. 
The first point indicates the economically more progressive 
strata of the bourgeoisie. This is essential. Even more essen- 
tial is the point on the bourgeois intelligentsia. In the bour- 
geois parties there are an increasing number of bourgeois 
intellectuals who are attempting to reconcile the feudal- 
minded landlords with the toiling peasantry, and who stand 
for the preservation of all sorts of remnants and survivals 
of the autocracy. 


It must be agreed that Trotsky's amendment is not Men- 
shevik, that it expresses the "very same", that is, Bolshevik, 
idea. But Trotsky has expressed this idea in a way that is 
scarcely better. When we say "simultaneously" we are ex- 
pressing the general character of present-day politics. This 
general character is undoubtedly of such a nature that 
conditions force us to come out simultaneously both against 
Stolypin and against the Cadets. The same is true with re- 
gard to the treacherous policy of the Cadets. Trotsky's 
insertion is redundant, for we are not fishing for unique 
cases in the resolution, but are laying down the basic line 
of Social-Democracy in the bourgeois Russian revolution. 





MAY 16 (29) 187 


Everyone realises that Martov's amendment is highly 
important. "Technical agreements" is an extremely elastic 
conception. It seems that under "technical", a "Duma with 
full powers" is also included. If Martov thinks that our 
agreements with the Trudoviks are anything but technical, 
he is mistaken. Our resolution does not say that technical 
agreements with the liberal bourgeoisie are impermissible. 
There should be no place for sanctions or interdictions in 
a resolution; it should indicate an ideological political line. 
If, however, you are dissatisfied with this absence of inter- 
diction and introduce your notes about "sanction", you are 
thereby destroying the entire spirit, the entire sense, behind 
our resolution. And if such an amendment were accepted, we 
could do nothing but withdraw our resolution. 


When Martov goes so far as to say that we are refusing to 
introduce into our resolution any mention of our antagonism 
towards the revolutionary Narodniks, he is by this open 
and glaring untruth defeating his own purpose and showing 
that his own amendment is pure invention. No, it is not we 
who are refusing to light against the pseudo-socialist nature 



of the Narodniks, but you Menshevik comrades, who have 
refused to support revolutionary democracy, and prefer the 
liberals (the Cadets). The majority of the Narodnik groups 
(Popular Socialists and Trudoviks) have not only failed to 
adhere in any special way to the terrorism of the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, but, on the contrary, have erred on the 
side of pliancy in dealing with the liberals. The genuine 
revolutionism of all Narodniks is expressed in the endeavour 
to destroy landlordism. In this alone do the liberals see 
"adventurous gambles and utopianism". Martov is, in 
point of fact, helping the liberals. 





MAY 16 (29) 


Martynov's amendment is another attempt to introduce 
the Menshevik view that the peasants are more reactionary 
(or may be more reactionary) in the present revolution than 
the Cadets, since the Mensheviks do not say a single word 
about the reactionary nature of the Cadets. Martynov's 
argument is all mixed up — the dualism is not due to the peas- 
ants' wavering between revolution and reaction but to 
their wavering between the Cadets and the Social-Democrats. 
The Mensheviks will inevitably and unavoidably include 
their favourite idea of the reactionary nature of the con- 
fiscation of landed estates and the progressiveness of com- 
pensation in the anarchist tendencies of which Martynov 
speaks. "Anarchist tendencies" in the peasants is a liberal 
landlord phrase. As to the subjugation of the proletarian 
movement to the peasant movement — it is ridiculous to 
speak of this after having declared the reverse, and expressed 
it scores of times in resolutions. 


Our acceptance of Martynov's amendment would undoubted- 
ly make a laughing-stock of Social-Democracy. At the begin- 
ning of the resolution, we spoke about a decisive struggle 



against the feudal state. Now we must draw a political 
conclusion from this social-economic proposition. Our task 
is to win that section of the bourgeoisie whose economic 
position impels it into struggle (the peasantry) away from 
the influence of the section of the bourgeoisie that is in- 
capable of joining this decisive struggle (from the influence 
of the liberal landlords, the Cadets). It is in order to confuse 
a clear political conclusion that Martynov proposes that 
what is said at the beginning be repeated at the end. 




MAY 18 (31) 

Our commission has not come to any agreement. Six 
voted for the Bolshevik draft and six against. Five voted 
for the Menshevik draft and five against. One abstained. 
I must now briefly defend our Bolshevik draft to you, since 
the Polish Social-Democrats and the Latvians are in agree- 
ment with it. 

We proceeded from the proposition that everything already 
stated in the resolution on the bourgeois parties must be 
deleted from the resolution on the State Duma, since the 
Duma struggle is only a part, and not the principal part, 
of our struggle against the bourgeois parties and the 

In the present resolution we speak only of what our policy 
in the Duma must be. As to an assessment of how we managed 
to get into the Duma, we deleted this part of the resolution — 
the point on the boycott — for the following reasons. It 
seems to me personally, and to all the Bolsheviks, that in 
view of the stand taken by all the liberal press we should 
have given an appraisal of how we got into the Duma. 
In opposition to the entire liberal bourgeoisie, the workers' 
party must declare that, for the time being, we must reckon 
with such an ugly institution because of the treachery of 
the bourgeoisie. But the Latvian comrades were opposed 
to this point, and in order not to hinder the rapid completion 
of our work (and we must hurry if we are to end the Congress 
tomorrow as we decided) we withdrew this point. What the 
Congress wants is clear in any case, and lack of time makes 
it impossible to conduct debates on matters of principle. 



I shall dwell on the basic ideas expressed in our resolution. 
In essence, all this is a repetition of what was said in our 
draft resolution at the Stockholm Congress. The first point 
stresses the complete uselessness of the Duma as such. This 
is a necessary idea, for extremely broad sections of the peas- 
antry and the petty bourgeoisie in general still place the 
most naive hopes on the Duma. It is our plain duty to dispel 
these na'ive illusions, which are sustained by the liberals for 
their own selfish class ends. 

The second part of the first point speaks of the uselessness 
of the parliamentary path in general, and about explaining 
the inevitability of an open struggle of the masses. 
Here we give an explanation of our positive views on ways 
of getting out of the present situation. We absolutely must 
emphasise it, and clearly repeat our revolutionary slogans, 
since wavering and vacillation, even among the Social- 
Democrats, is no rare thing in such a question. Let everyone 
know that Social-Democracy sticks to its old, revolutionary 

The second point is devoted to an explanation of the rela- 
tion between direct "legislative" activity in the Duma, 
and agitation, criticism, propaganda, organisation. The 
workers' party regards the connection between work within 
and without the Duma very differently from the way the 
liberal bourgeoisie regards it. It is necessary to stress this 
radical difference of views. On the one hand, there are the 
bourgeois politicians, enraptured by their parliamentary 
games behind the backs of the people. On the other hand, 
there is a contingent of the organised proletariat that has 
been sent into the enemy camp and is carrying on work 
closely connected with the struggle of the proletariat as 
a whole. For us there is only one, single and indivisible, 
workers' movement — the class struggle of the proletariat. 
All its separate, partial forms, including the parliamentary 
struggle, must be fully subordinated to it. For us it is the 
extra-Duma struggle of the proletariat that is decisive. It 
would not be sufficient for us to say that we take into account 
the economic interests and needs of the masses, etc. Such 
phrases (in the spirit of the old Menshevik resolution) are 
hazy and can be subscribed to by any liberal. Every liberal 
is ready to chatter about the economic needs of the people 



in general. But no liberal would be willing to subordinate 
Duma activity to the class struggle; it is, however, precisely 
this view that we Social-Democrats must express with the 
utmost clarity. It is only by reason of this principle that 
we really distinguish ourselves from all possible varieties of 
bourgeois democracy. 

It is sometimes pointed out (especially by the members 
of the Bund — alleged conciliators) that it is also necessary 
to note the contrary — the links between the extra-Duma 
Social-Democratic struggle and the work of the Social- 
Democratic Duma group. I maintain that this is false, and 
can only serve to sow the most harmful parliamentary illu- 
sions. The part must conform to the whole, and not vice 
versa. The Duma may temporarily serve as an arena of the 
class struggle as a whole, but only if that whole is never 
lost sight of, and if the revolutionary tasks of the class 
struggle are not concealed. 

The next point in our resolution is devoted to the liberal 
policy in the Duma. The slogan of this policy — "save the 
Duma" — merely serves to conceal the liberals' alliance with 
the Black Hundreds. We must frankly tell the people this, 
and explain it to them. The liberal slogan systematically 
corrupts the political and class consciousness of the masses. 
It is our duty to wage a ruthless struggle against this liberal 
haziness. By tearing the mask from liberalism, by showing 
that, behind the talk about democracy, there lurks voting 
hand in glove with the Black Hundreds, we shall be wresting 
the remnants of democracy from the bourgeois betrayers of 

What must guide us in determining our Duma policy? 
Leaving aside all thought of engendering conflicts for their 
own sake, our resolution gives a positive definition of 
"timeliness" in the Social-Democratic sense of the word — we 
must take into account the revolutionary crisis developing 
outside the Duma, by force of objective circumstances. 

The last point is devoted to the famous "responsible 
ministry". It was not fortuitous, but inevitable, that the 
liberal bourgeoisie should advance this slogan to utilise 
the period of lull in its own interests, and weaken the revo- 
lutionary consciousness of the masses. This slogan was sup- 
ported by the Mensheviks both in the First and Second 



Dumas, and during the period of the Second Duma Plekhanov 
said forthright in the Menshevik newspaper that the Social- 
Democrats should make this demand "their own". Hence 
this slogan played a very definite role in the history of our 
revolution. It is absolutely essential for the workers' party 
to define its attitude towards the slogan. We must not be 
guided by the fact that the liberals are not advancing this 
slogan at the moment: they have temporarily withdrawn 
it for opportunist reasons, but actually they are striving 
even more earnestly to come to terms with tsarism. And 
the slogan "a Duma ministry" most graphically expresses 
this innate tendency of liberalism towards a deal with 

We do not and cannot deny that a Duma ministry may 
prove a stage in the revolution, or that circumstances may 
force us to utilise it. That is not the point. The Social- 
Democrats utilise reforms as a by-product of the revolu- 
tionary class struggle of the proletariat, but it is not our 
business to mobilise the people for half-hearted reforms that 
are not feasible without a revolutionary struggle. The So- 
cial-Democrats must expose all the inconsistency of such 
slogans even from the purely democratic point of view. 
The Social-Democrats must explain to the proletariat the 
conditions for its victory, and not link up its policy in advance 
with the possibility of an incomplete victory, the possibility 
of a partial defeat — yet such are the conditions for the prob- 
lematic establishment of a "Duma ministry". 

Let the liberals give democracy away for a few pennies 
and throw away the whole for the sake of banal and feeble, 
paltry dreams of doles. Social-Democracy must rouse 
among the people consciousness of integral democratic 
tasks, and imbue the proletariat with a clear understanding 
of revolutionary aims. We must enlighten the minds of the 
masses of workers and develop their readiness to struggle, 
not befog their minds by toning down contradictions, by 
toning down the aims of the struggle. {Applause.) 




MAY 19 (JUNE l) 188 


We must vote again. Lieber is wrong. His entire line of 
argument is ridiculous sophistry. After all, who is to decide 
on this lottery? We are to! We constitute the final session 
of the Congress. There can be no compromise. This is a 
congress, not a meeting of factions. You say that we have 
been empowered to decide only technical and formal ques- 
tions, yet we have only just adopted a political resolution 
on a loan. 


It was intended to intimidate you with terrifying words 
about the seizure of power. But after all we are empowered 
to elect candidates to the C.C. at this meeting. (Stir.) 
Keep calm, comrades; anyway, you won't shout me down! 
We are accused of wanting to take advantage of a single 
vote. I am of the opinion that this can and should be done. 
What we are deciding here is a political question, a matter 
of principle. To let this question be decided by lottery — by 
blind chance — would be nothing but gambling. We cannot 
condemn the Party to a year of gambling. I warn you that 
if — given an equal vote — our Party decides this question 
by drawing lots, the responsibility will rest with you. That 
is why this assembly must vote again. 



The question of the attitude of Social-Democracy towards 
bourgeois parties is one of those known as "general" or 
"theoretical" questions, i.e., such that are not directly 
connected with any definite practical task confronting the 
Party at a given moment. At the London Congress of the 
R.S.D.L.P., the Mensheviks and the Bundists conducted 
a fierce struggle against the inclusion of such questions in 
the agenda, and they were, unfortunately, supported in this 
by Trotsky, who does not belong to either side. The oppor- 
tunist wing of our Party, like that of other Social-Democratic 
parties, defended a "business-like" or "practical" agenda for 
the Congress. They shied away from "broad and general" 
questions. They forgot that in the final analysis broad, prin- 
cipled politics are the only real, practical politics. They 
forgot that anybody who tackles partial problems without 
having previously settled general problems, will inevitably 
and at every step "come up against" those general problems 
without himself realising it. To come up against them blindly 
in every individual case means to doom one's politics to the 
worst vacillation and lack of principle. 

The Bolsheviks had insisted on including quite a number 
of "general questions" in the Congress agenda, but succeeded 
in getting only one passed with the aid of the Poles and the 
Latvians — the question of the attitude to bourgeois parties. 
This question not only took first place among the Congress 
questions of principle but also among all work in general. 
It turned out that way, and it had to turn out that way, 
because the real source of almost all differences, certainly 
all differences of substance, of all disagreements on questions 
of the practical politics of the proletariat in the Russian 



revolution, was a different assessment of our attitude to 
non-proletarian parties. Since the very beginning of the 
Russian revolution there have appeared two basic views 
among Social-Democrats on the nature of the revolution 
and the role of the proletariat in it. Anyone who attempts to 
analyse the tactical differences in the R.S.D.L.P. without 
going into the difference of these basic views will get 
hopelessly entangled in trivialities and partial problems. 


The two trends in Russian Social-Democracy on the ques- 
tion of an assessment of our revolution and the tasks of 
the proletariat in it, had become perfectly clear at the very 
beginning of 1905, and in the spring of that year were given 
full, precise and formal expression, recognised by the 
organisations concerned, at the Bolshevik Third Congress 
of the R.S.D.L.P. in London and the Menshevik Conference 
held simultaneously in Geneva. Both the Bolsheviks and 
the Mensheviks discussed and adopted resolutions that 
people who have forgotten the history of their Party or 
their section of it, or who desire to avoid an analysis of 
the real sources of disagreements on matters of principle, 
are now too inclined to ignore. In the view of the Bolshe- 
viks the proletariat has had laid upon it the active task 
of pursuing the bourgeois-democratic revolution to its con- 
summation and of being its leader. This is only possible if 
the proletariat is able to carry with it the masses of the 
democratic petty bourgeoisie, especially the peasantry, in 
the struggle against the autocracy and the treacherous lib- 
eral bourgeoisie. The inevitability of bourgeois treachery 
was deduced by the Bolsheviks even then, before the open 
activities of the Constitutional-Democrats, the chief liberal 
party; the deduction was based on the class interests of the 
bourgeoisie and their fear of the proletarian movement.* 

The Mensheviks were inclined to the view that the bour- 
geoisie are the motive force and that they determine the 

* The full victory of the revolution said the Bolsheviks, is pos- 
sible only as a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the prole- 
tariat and the peasantry. 



scope of the bourgeois revolution. The proletariat cannot 
lead the bourgeois revolution, but must fulfil only the role 
of the extreme opposition, and not strive to win power. The 
Mensheviks rejected in the most determined manner the 
idea of a revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the pro- 
letariat and the peasantry. 

At that time, in May 1905 (just two years ago), the differ- 
ences were of a purely theoretical and abstract character 
because no immediate practical task then confronted our 
Party. It is therefore particularly interesting — for the in- 
struction of those people who are so fond of deleting abstract 
questions from congress agendas and substituting "business- 
like" practical questions — to trace the way in which these 
differences later made their appearance in practical work. 

The Bolsheviks asserted that the Mensheviks' views would 
actually lead to the slogans of the revolutionary proletariat 
degenerating to the slogans and tactics of the liberal-monarch- 
ist bourgeoisie. In 1905 the Mensheviks tried their hardest 
to prove that they alone defended the true proletarian policy 
and that the Bolsheviks were dissolving the working-class 
movement in bourgeois democracy. That the Mensheviks 
themselves had a most sincere desire for an independent 
proletarian policy can be seen from the following highly 
instructive tirade in one of the resolutions of that time, 
adopted at the Menshevik Conference in May 1905. "Social- 
Democracy," says the resolution, "will continue to oppose 
hypocritical friends of the people, oppose all those political 
parties that raise a liberal and democratic banner and refuse 
to give real support to the revolutionary struggle of the pro- 
letariat." Despite all these well-meant intentions, the incor- 
rect tactical theories of the Mensheviks led, in actual fact, 
to their sacrificing proletarian independence for the lib- 
eralism of the monarchist bourgeoisie. 

Let us recall on what practical questions of politics the 
Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks have differed among them- 
selves during these two years of revolution. The Bulygin 
Duma of autumn 1905: the Bolsheviks were for the boycott, 
the Mensheviks for participation. The Witte Duma — the 
same again. Policy in the First Duma (summer 1906): the 
Mensheviks were in favour of the slogan of "a responsible 
ministry" — the Bolsheviks were against it and in favour of 



an executive committee of the Lefts, i.e., the Social- 
Democrats and Trudoviks. The dissolution of the Duma 
(July 1906): the Mensheviks brought forward the slogan 
"for the Duma as an organ of power for the convocation of 
a constituent assembly"; the Bolsheviks rejected that 
liberal distortion of a revolutionary slogan. The elections 
to the Second Duma (end of 1906, beginning of 1907): the 
Mensheviks were for "technical blocs" with the Constitu- 
tional-Democrats (and Plekhanov was for a political bloc 
with the platform of "a Duma with full powers"). The 
Bolsheviks were against blocs with the Constitutional- 
Democrats and in favour of an independent campaign, 
allowing the possibility of a Left bloc. Compare these im- 
portant facts from the history of Social-Democratic tactics 
during the past two years, with the basic differences on 
matters of principle outlined above. You will immediately 
see that the general theoretical analysis of the Bolsheviks 
has been confirmed by the two years of revolution. Social- 
Democracy was compelled to go against treacherous liber- 
alism, was compelled "to strike together" with the Trudoviks 
and the Narodniks; the Second Duma definitely established 
this preponderance, by a majority vote. The Menshevik 
good intentions to expose, as hypocritical friends of the 
people, all those who refused to support the revolutionary 
struggle of the proletariat paved the road to the hell of 
political blocs with the liberals, up to and including the 
acceptance of their slogans. 

On the basis of a theoretical analysis, the Bolsheviks 
forecast in 1905 that the pivot of Social-Democratic tactics 
in the bourgeois revolution is the question of the treachery 
of liberalism and the democratic capacity of the peasantry. 
All subsequent practical differences on the policy of the work- 
ers' party have revolved precisely around this pivot. The 
Menshevik policy of dependence on the liberals actually 
has developed historically from the false basis of their 

Prior to the Stockholm Unity Congress in 1906, the Bol- 
sheviks and the Mensheviks put forward two substantially 
different resolutions on bourgeois parties. The Bolshevik 
resolution in its entirety was imbued with the basic idea 
of the treachery of liberalism and of a revolutionary-demo- 



cratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, 
merely providing fresh illustrations to this idea in the form 
of the facts and events of the post-October period (the split 
between the Octobrists and the Cadets; the formation of the 
Peasant Union and radical associations of intellectuals, 
etc.)- The Bolsheviks analysed the class content of the basic 
types of bourgeois parties and filled out, so to say, the skele- 
ton of their old abstract scheme, with concrete data. In 
their resolution for the Stockholm Congress, the Mensheviks 
refused to analyse the class content of various parties, on 
the grounds of their "instability". This meant actually 
evading an answer on the substance of the matter. This 
evasion was clearly demonstrated when the Mensheviks, 
who had gained a victory at the Stockholm Congress, them- 
selves withdrew their resolution on the attitude to bour- 
geois parties in Russia. In the spring of 1905, a Menshevik 
resolution proposed exposing, as hypocritical friends of the 
people, all liberals and democrats who refused to support 
the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. In the spring 
of 1906, it was the Bolsheviks and not the Mensheviks who, 
in a resolution, spoke of the hypocrisy of a definite liberal 
party, the Constitutional-Democrats to be precise, while 
the Mensheviks preferred to leave the question open. At 
the London Congress, in the spring of 1907, the Mensheviks 
revealed themselves still more completely; the old demand 
that the liberals and democrats support the revolutionary 
struggle of the proletariat was completely abandoned. The 
Menshevik resolution (see the draft in Narodnaya Duma, 
1907, No. 12 — an extremely important document) openly and 
frankly advocates "combining" the activities — in plainer 
words, making them agree — of the proletariat with those 
of bourgeois democracy in general! 

Down the ladder, rung by rung. The socialist's good inten- 
tions and bad theory in 1905. No theory and no intentions in 
1905. No theory and an openly opportunist policy in 1907. 
"The combining" of Social-Democratic and liberal-bourgeois 
policy — such is Menshevism's last word. And it could have 
been no other, after blocs with the Cadets, voting for Go- 
lovin, private meetings with Cadets, the attempt to remove 
the confiscation of landed estates from our list of imperative 
demands, and other gems of Menshevik policy. 



At the London Congress, Menshevik policy in respect 
of liberalism suffered its fullest defeat. The Mensheviks 
did not risk submitting their first resolution as printed in 
Narodnaya Duma (No. 12). They withdrew it without even 
submitting it to the commission in which all five Party 
groups were represented by fifteen members (four Bol- 
sheviks, four Mensheviks, two Poles, two Latvians and three 
from the Bund). Probably the slogan of "combining", the 
concord of socialist policy with that of the liberals repelled, 
not only the Bundists, but even many Mensheviks. The 
Mensheviks appeared in the commission after having 
"cleaned themselves up a little"; they wrote a new resolution, 
and deleted "combining" altogether. Instead of "combining" 
they inserted "use of other parties by the proletariat for 
its own ends", the recognition of the establishment of a 
republic, etc., as a political aim of the proletariat. But 
nothing could help them. It was far too obvious to every- 
body that they had deliberately dressed up in this bright 
raiment as a cover for the same policy of "combining". The 
practical conclusion to be drawn from the resolution was 
the same — "enter into agreements with those parties [with 
both the liberals and the Narodniks] in definite, individual 
cases". Of the fifteen members of the commission only four — 
i.e., only the Mensheviks! — consented to accept such a res- 
olution as a basis for discussion. There could not have been 
a fuller defeat for Menshevik policy as such. The Bolshevik 
resolution was taken as a basis at the Congress and then 
adopted in its totality after some insignificant amendments, 
by 158-163 votes against a little over a hundred (106 in one 
case), with from ten to twenty abstaining. Before we proceed 
with an analysis of the basic ideas of this resolution and the 
significance of the amendments proposed by the Mensheviks, 
we must mention another episode, not without interest, 
which took place when the resolution was under discussion 
in the commission. 

Not two, but three draft resolutions were submitted to 
the commission — the Bolshevik, the Menshevik and the 
Polish drafts. The Poles agreed with the Bolsheviks in their 
basic ideas but rejected our type of resolution with an 
analysis of each separate group of parties. The Poles 
thought this a mere literary exercise, and considered our 



resolution too cumbersome. They constructed their draft as 
a brief formulation of two general principles of proletarian 
policy in respect of bourgeois parties — (1) the class individ- 
uality of the proletariat, as distinct from all other parties, 
for the purpose of its socialist aims, no matter how revolu- 
tionary and how determinedly republican those other parties 
may be; (2) alliance with the Trudovik parties against the 
autocracy and against the treachery of liberalism. 

It cannot be disputed that these two significant ideas in 
the Polish resolution cover the point at issue splendidly. 
Nor can it be disputed that the plan to give a brief, definite 
directive for the proletariat of all nationalities in Russia, 
without a "sociological" discussion of the different types 
of parties, is an attractive one. Experience nevertheless 
showed that the Congress would not have been able to arrive 
at a full, clear and definite solution to the problem on the 
basis of the Polish resolution. In order to refute Menshevism, 
it was necessary to determine, in great detail, the positive 
view of Social-Democracy in respect of the different parties; 
otherwise there would have been room for vagueness. 

The Mensheviks and the Bundists immediately seized on 
the Polish resolution while it was still in the commission, in 
order to take advantage of the opportunity provided by such 
vagueness. The commission accepted the Polish resolution 
as a basis, by seven votes (four Mensheviks, two Poles and 
one Bundist) against seven (four Bolsheviks, two Latvians 
and one Bundist; the fifteenth member of the commission 
abstained or was absent). The commission then began tacking 
on to the Polish resolution such "amendments" that it was 
distorted beyond all recognition. Even an amendment on 
the permissibility of "technical" agreements with the liber- 
als was accepted. Naturally the Poles withdrew their draft 
after it had been mutilated by the Mensheviks. It turned 
out that, besides the Poles, neither the Mensheviks nor the 
Bundists would consent to submit such a draft to the Congress. 
All the commission's work was wasted, and the Congress 
had to vote on the Bolshevik draft that had been accepted 
as a basis for a resolution. 

It may now be asked: what is the significance, in principle, 
of the Congress having accepted the Bolshevik draft as a 
basis for a resolution? What were the basic points in prole- 



tarian tactics that mobilised the Congress for this draft and 
led it to reject the Menshevik draft? 

If we read the two drafts attentively we can quite easily 
pick out two such basic points. First, the Bolshevik resolu- 
tion really effects a socialist criticism of the non-proletarian 
parties. Secondly, the resolution gives a precise definition 
of proletarian tactics in the present revolution, giving a 
perfectly clear and concrete content to the concept of "leader" 
in the revolution, and showing with whom we can and must 
"strike together", and at whom and under what circumstances 
to strike. 

The basic fault of the Menshevik resolution is that it 
provides neither the one nor the other, and by its emptiness 
opens wide the doors to opportunism, i.e., in the final 
analysis, to Social-Democratic politics being replaced by 
liberal politics. Just take a glance at the Mensheviks' so- 
cialist criticism of the non-proletarian parties. Their criticism 
amounts to this: "the socio-economic conditions and historic 
situation in which this [i.e., our] revolution is proceeding 
hamper the development of the bourgeois-democratic move- 
ment, at one pole engendering indecision in the struggle 
and the illusions of a constitutional, peaceful abolition of 
the old order, and at the other pole — the illusion of petty- 
bourgeois revolutionism and agrarian Utopias". 

First of all, we have before us a resolution on parties, 
which does not name the parties. Secondly, we have before us 
a resolution that does not give an analysis of the class con- 
tent of the different "poles" of bourgeois democracy. Thirdly, 
this resolution does not even hint at a definition of what the 
attitude of the various classes to "our revolution" should 
be. Summing up all these shortcomings we must say that the 
Marxist theory of the class struggle has disappeared from the 

It is not the fundamental interests of the various classes 
of capitalist society that engender the different types of 
bourgeois parties; it is not class interests that give rise to 
peaceful illusions or "conciliatory tendencies" in some and 
"revolutionism" in others. Definitely not! It is some sort of 
unknown socio-economic conditions and an historical situ- 
ation that hamper the development of the bourgeois-democratic 
movement in general. And so the conciliatory tendency of 



capital and the revolutionism of the muzhik do not arise 
out of the position of the bourgeoisie and the peasantry in 
a capitalist society that is emancipating itself from feudal- 
ism, but out of some sort of conditions, out of the situation 
in all "our revolution" in general. The next point even says 
that "these negative tendencies, hindering the development of 
the revolution", come more strongly "to the fore at the 
present moment of a temporary lull". 

That is not a Marxist, but a liberal theory, seeking the 
roots of different social tendencies outside the interests of 
the different classes. This is a Left-Cadet, not a socialist 
resolution; the extremism of both poles is condemned, the 
opportunism of the Cadets and the revolutionism of the 
Narodniks are condemned and thereby something in between 
the two is actually praised. One cannot help wondering wheth- 
er we are not confronted with Popular Socialists, who seek 
the golden mean between the Cadets and the Socialist-Revo- 

If our Mensheviks had not departed from the Marxist 
theory of the class struggle, they would have realised that 
the different class positions of the bourgeoisie and the peas- 
antry in the struggle against the "old order" explain the 
different types of parties — liberal on the one hand, and 
Narodnik on the other. All these parties, groups and polit- 
ical organisations, which differ in much or in little and 
have arisen in such abundance in the course of the Russian 
revolution, always and inevitably gravitate to one of these 
two types (with the exception of the reactionary parties 
and the party of the proletariat) — this is beyond all doubt 
and needs no proof. If we limit ourselves to indicating the 
"two poles" in a single bourgeois-democratic movement, we 
offer nothing but platitudes. Always and in everything, 
two extremes, two "poles" are to be seen. In any social move- 
ment of any extent there are always the "poles" and there 
is always a more or less "golden" mean. To characterise 
bourgeois democracy in this way is to reduce the Marxist 
postulate to an empty phrase instead of applying it to an 
analysis of the class roots of the types of party in Russia. 
The Mensheviks do not offer a socialist criticism of the bour- 
geois parties, because giving the name bourgeois-democratic 
to all oppositional, non-proletarian parties does not at all 



imply socialist criticism. If you do not show the interests 
of which classes and which particular interests are dominant 
at the moment in determining the nature of the various 
parties and their politics, you are not really applying Marx- 
ism and have, in fact, rejected the theory of the class strug- 
gle. Therefore, the term "bourgeois-democratic", as you use 
it, is nothing but a platonic declaration of respect for Marx- 
ism, since your use of the term is not accompanied by the 
association of such-and-such a type of liberalism or democ- 
racy with such-and-such self-interests of definite strata 
of the bourgeoisie. No wonder our liberals, beginning with 
the Party of Democratic Reform and the Cadets and ending 
with the non-party Bez Zaglaviya group from Tovarishch, 
seeing that the Mensheviks apply Marxism in such a way, 
enthusiastically seize on the "idea" of the harmfulness of 
extremes of opportunism and revolutionism in democracy — 
seize on it because it is not an idea at all, but a banal plat- 
itude. It is, of course, not the term "bourgeois democracy" 
that scares the liberal. What scares him is an exposure, be- 
fore the people, of what material interests of precisely which 
wealthy classes liberal programmes and phrases boil down 
to. That, and not the term "bourgeois democracy", is the 
gist of the matter. Not he who persistently uses the term 
"bourgeois democracy" to protect himself, as though he 
were crossing himself, is applying the theory of the class 
struggle, but he who shows, in practice, how the bourgeois 
character of a party manifests itself. 

If the concept "bourgeois democracy" implies only condem- 
nation of the extremes of both opportunism and revolu- 
tionism, then it is a concept that degrades Marxist theory 
to the level of banal liberal phraseology. The liberal, we 
repeat, does not fear such use of the concept, for it is deeds 
that he fears, not words. He may consent to accept a term 
that is, to him, unpleasant and "reeking of Marxism". But 
neither the liberal, nor the "intellectual" from Tovarishch, 
who apes the Bernsteinians, will agree to accept the view 
that he, the Cadet, expresses the interests of the bourgeois 
who is selling out the revolution to someone or other. It 
is precisely because in their application of Marxism the 
Mensheviks reduce that theory to an empty and meaningless 
phrase committing them to nothing, that the Bez Zaglaviya 



group, the Prokopoviches and Kuskovas, the Cadets and 
others, seize with both hands at the idea of supporting 
Menshevism. Menshevik Marxism is Marxism recut to the 
measurements of bourgeois liberalism. 

And so the first basic fault of the Mensheviks' stand on 
the present question lies in their failure to offer a real social- 
ist criticism of the non-proletarian parties. In point of 
fact, Menshevism departs from Marx's theory of the class 
struggle. The London Congress has put an end to this dis- 
tortion of Social-Democratic policy and theory. The second 
basic fault is that Menshevism does not actually recognise 
the independent policy of the proletariat in the present 
revolution, and does not offer the proletariat any definite 
tactics. Avoid extremes of opportunism and revolutionism — 
such is one of the commandments of Menshevism as taken 
from their resolution. From time to time, conclude agree- 
ments with the liberals and democrats — that is another of 
their commandments. Combine your politics (make it agree) 
with those of the liberals and democrats — that is the third 
commandment expressed in Narodnaya Duma and the 
Menshevik resolution of the time. Delete from here all men- 
tion of the third commandment; add desires and demands — 
"proletarian politics must be independent", add the demand 
for a republic (as the Mensheviks did at the London Cong- 
ress) — by these means you will in no way get rid of the 
second basic fault of Menshevism. The independence of 
proletarian politics is not determined by writing the word 
"independent" in the right places, and not by including 
mention of a republic; it is determined only by a precise 
definition of a path that is really independent. And that is 
what the Mensheviks do not offer. 

The objective alignment of classes and social forces being 
as it is, we are actually confronted with a struggle between 
two tendencies — liberalism is striving to stop the revolu- 
tion, and the proletariat — to carry it on to its culmination. 
If the proletariat is unaware of this tendency of liberalism, 
if the proletariat is unaware of its task to engage in a direct 
struggle against liberalism, if it does not struggle to liberate 
the democratic peasantry from the influence of liberalism, 
then the politics of the proletariat are not actually independ- 
ent. It is precisely these non-independent politics that the 



Mensheviks are legalising; for that is the significance of 
admitting the possibility of agreements from occasion to 
occasion, without defining the line of those agreements, 
without defining the line of demarcation that divides the 
two tactics in our revolution. "Agreements from occasion 
to occasion" is a formula that actually serves to conceal 
the bloc with the Cadets, the "Duma with full powers" and 
the responsible ministry, in other words, the entire policy 
of making the workers' party dependent on liberalism. In 
the present historical situation there can be no question 
of an independent policy for the workers' party, if that 
party does not set itself the direct task of struggling to carry 
the revolution through to its consummation, if it does not 
struggle, not only against the autocracy, but also against 
liberalism, for influence over the democratic peasantry. 
The historical situation in the bourgeois revolution in 
Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century is such 
that any other policy on the part of Social-Democracy would 
actually mean its subordination to the politics of the liber- 

The London Congress's adoption of the Bolshevik resolu- 
tion on non-proletarian parties means that the workers' 
party decisively rejects all deviations from the class struggle, 
and recognises, in point of fact, the socialist criticism of 
non-proletarian parties and the independent revolutionary 
tasks of the proletariat in the present revolution. 

The rejection of the Menshevik amendments to the reso- 
lution adds further weight to this. 


When the Bolshevik draft, was accepted by the Congress 
as the basis for the resolution on the attitude to bour- 
geois parties, a shower of amendments came pouring from the 
Mensheviks and the Bundists. In several statements of 
protest submitted to the Bureau of the Congress, the total 
number of such amendments was estimated at 70 or more. 
I shall not waste time discussing all the ins and outs of 
the struggle to stop this obstruction, which left Akimov's 
famous twenty-two amendments at the Second Congress 



far behind, nor shall I list the mass of absolutely empty 
and trivial amendments. I shall mention only five amend- 
ments that are highly significant in principle. Here they 
are in the order in which they were discussed at the Cong- 

Point Three of the preamble of our resolution speaks 
directly of the task of the proletariat as filling "the role of 
leader in the bourgeois-democratic revolution". The Men- 
sheviks proposed an amendment — change the word "leader" 
for "vanguard", "advanced contingent" or the words "main 
motive force". All those amendments were rejected. Repeat 
as often as you will that the proletariat must retain its 
class independence — the Bolsheviks have nothing against 
that. But to weaken the words on the role of leader in the 
revolution would mean opening the doors to opportunism. 
The proletariat could be the "main motive force" in a cur- 
tailed, landlord-bourgeois revolution. It is possible to be the 
main motive force of the victory of another class without 
being able to defend the interests of your own class. Revo- 
lutionary Social-Democracy, if it is to remain true to itself, 
has no right to confine itself to that. It must help the prole- 
tariat to rise from the passive role of main motive force to 
the active role of leader — to rise from the dependent position 
of a fighter for curtailed freedom to the most independent 
position of a fighter for complete freedom, a freedom that 
is to the advantage of the working class. The basic difference 
in the tactics of the opportunist and the revolutionary tac- 
tics of Social-Democracy in the bourgeois revolution is, 
one might say, that the former is reconciled to the role of 
the proletariat as the main motive force, while the latter 
is directed towards giving the proletariat the role of leader 
and by no means that of a mere "motive force". 

The expression "advanced contingent" would also weaken 
the recognition of the task of the proletariat as that of 
leading the other democratic classes, or could, at least, 
be interpreted in that way. 

The second amendment — remove from the third point 
of the resolution proper (the characteristic of the liberal 
parties) the reference to the democratic petty bourgeoisie 
being deceived by the liberals. The Mensheviks said that 
it was necessary to remove or change it in the name of 



Marxism, for, they said, it is unworthy of materialists to 
explain by "deceptions" the social composition of parties. 
The sophistry of this argument had too bad a smell for the 
Congress to fall for it. To deny, in the name of Marxism, the 
role of deception in the politics of the bourgeoisie would be 
the same as denying all forms of violence in the name of the 
"economic factor". Only the Davids, Vollmars and similar 
pillars of opportunism understand Marxism in this way. 
In particular, to deny or attempt to lessen the part played 
by deception in the Cadets' present policy towards the 
peasantry and urban petty bourgeoisie in Russia would be 
attempting to make liberalism more attractive, and distort- 
ing the facts for its benefit. That is because the Cadets' direct 
deception of the electors from among the peasantry and 
urban petty bourgeoisie is the most indisputable of facts. 
It is wrong to speak of parties deceiving their electors, 
in cases when the interests of a class engender certain 
theoretical illusions, i.e., deceptive concepts (for instance, 
when the interests of the peasantry engender illusive ex- 
pectations of endless benefits following the expropriation of 
the landlords). It is necessary to speak openly, for all to 
hear, of the deception of certain strata of the people by their 
parliamentary representatives when those representatives 
sacrifice the direct interests of those strata to their exploi- 
ters (the peasants are betrayed to the landlords, etc.). The 
German bourgeoisie have betrayed the peasants, wrote Marx 
in 1848. If, in 1907, we in Russia do not risk saying the same 
about our bourgeoisie and about our Cadets, if we cannot 
prove this to the masses, we shall be trampling the great 
banner of Social-Democracy in the mud. 

The third amendment — to recognise, as an addendum to that 
selfsame third point, the permissibility of "technical agree- 
ments" with the Cadets. This amendment was rejected, with 
the Congress delegates voting by name. We announced that 
if it was accepted we should be compelled to withdraw our 
resolution as a whole; we had the right to do this if amend- 
ments distorted the basic idea of the resolution. We do 
not say anything about specifically forbidding all agree- 
ments with the Cadets, we announced. The point at issue 
is not one of forbidding or permitting specific cases, but of 
a general political line. One who wants in good faith to apply 



the Congress resolution will not enter into election agree- 
ments with the Cadets or put out common slogans with them, 
although a case of joint voting in the Duma may possibly 
occur. It would, in general, be useless to try to "ensnare" 
with any sort of wording those who do not conscientiously 
fulfil the resolution of the Congress. Our whole Party knows 
well enough from experience what our Mensheviks under- 
stand by "technical agreements" with the liberals. 

The fourth amendment — an addendum to Point Four 
indicating the necessity to struggle against the agrarian 
utopianism and revolutionism of the Narodniks; this was 
submitted several times by the Mensheviks, with constant 
changes of individual words in its text or of the place in 
the resolution to which it should belong. All those amend- 
ments were rejected by the Congress. The debate on these 
amendments was undoubtedly on matters of principle. The 
Mensheviks again tried at this point to introduce under the 
Marxist flag something most hostile to Marxism. There is 
no doubt that Marxism rejects the agrarian utopianism of 
the Narodniks and the methods of petty-bourgeois revolu- 
tionism. If that is so, argued the Mensheviks, then say it 
here, in this resolution. "Excuse us, dear comrades," we 
answered, "everything here is said as it should be. Your 
addendum, irrespective of your will and knowledge, acquires 
here the significance of a sally against the confiscation of 
landed estates. We have not forgotten that this confiscation 
has been called "utopianism" and "revolutionism" by all 
the liberals and also by many non-party Social-Democrats, 
such as the Prokopoviches and Kuskovas, and by several (for- 
tunately, not many) party Social-Democrats, who proposed 
that the Duma group and the Central Committee should 
not make an ultimatum of their insistence on confiscation. 

A resolution must be written in unmistakable language. 
It must consider all existing political tendencies in actual 
politics, and not the good intentions of some section or 
another of Social-Democracy (always allowing that the in- 
tentions are of the best). In our resolution we have recognised, 
forthrightly and definitely, the "psewdo-socialism" of the 
Narodniks. We have called their "socialist" ideology simply 
"vague", and have declared it absolutely imperative for 
Social-Democracy to fight against their concealment of the 



class antithesis between the proletariat and the petty pro- 
prietors. Everything has been said in these words, which 
condemn the really Utopian element in Narodism, condemn 
petty-bourgeois "extra-class" revolutionism. Moreover, our 
resolution does not merely condemn or refute; it also states 
what is positive in these parties. "The struggle against land- 
ed proprietorship and the feudal state", is the way we 
define the positive content. And he is not a Marxist who 
forgets this on account of the struggle against the vagueness 
of petty-bourgeois socialism. This real content has much 
greater significance in the present revolution than the Narod- 
niks' vague dreaming of the morrow. It is on account of 
this actual struggle that liberal and proletarian politics 
now differ radically. The liberals consider the complete abo- 
lition of landed proprietorship and the feudal state to be 
Utopian and empty revolutionism; such a debacle is not to the 
advantage of the bourgeoisie, and dangerous to it. In the real 
politics of our times it is this self-interest of the bourgeoisie 
as a class, and nothing but that self-interest, that finds ex- 
pression in attacks on the utopianism and revolutionism of 
the Narodniks. Proletarian politics, on the contrary, sepa- 
rate utopianism, revolutionism and the general vagueness of 
"equalitarian" dreams of non-class socialism, from the 
reality of the decisive struggle against the landlords and 
serf-owners. That which the liberals consider a harmful 
utopia, we consider to be the vital interest of the proletariat 
at the present moment — the complete abolition of landed 
proprietorship and the feudal state. On these grounds we 
must now pursue the most intense, immediate and prac- 
tical struggle against liberalism, a struggle to emancipate 
the democratic peasantry from its influence. 

The amendments under discussion have reflected one 
of the most widespread errors of Menshevism — the equating 
of the reactionary nature of the bourgeoisie in the present 
revolution (that is, reactionary in the struggle against the 
landlords and the autocracy) with the reactionary nature 
of the peasantry (which is reactionary from the viewpoint, 
not of the struggle against the landlords and the autocracy, 
but of the struggle against capital, i.e., it is reactionary, 
not in respect of the tasks of the present, bourgeois revolu- 
tion, but in respect of the future, socialist revolution). 



This radical Menshevik error was rejected by the Congress. 
The practical significance of this error is very great because 
it conceals a policy that allows equally joint action by the 
proletariat with the liberals and with peasant democracy. 

The last Menshevik amendment of any interest also 
refers to Point Four, to its end. The Mensheviks proposed 
removing from this point reference to the struggle against 
the Cadets ("... side w